8 Nights of Jewish Tigers– Night Seven, long delayed due to SCHOOL

Right. I promise this is the last long burst of silence over here at RotT. I just had a settling-in period, what with the new semester and all, and new classes, and new professors to glare suspiciously at for a while until you learn how well they’re likely to react to a nonsensical baseball reference made in the middle of class (photography prof: amused by it all. biopsych GSI: humorless. and so on).

But now I’m back in the swing of things, and things, therefore, shall swing with greater regularity over here.

Elliott Maddox

Actually, this was a photo of him in a Yankee uniform. I couldn’t find any shots of him in Tiger gear during my (admittedly perfunctory) scouring of the internet, so I just tossed him into Photoshop. Because let’s be honest here: no one wants to see a Yankee uniform unless they really have to.

Maddox spent much of his career in New York, as either a Yankee or a Met, but he got his start in the Detroit system when he was taken in the 1968 amateur draft. He experienced the glorious midwestern lands before that, though, as Maddox attended the University of Michigan, thus rocketing his awesomeness points up by about 5,000.

He only spent one year in the majors with the Tigers, during which time he hit .248/.332/.364. Maddox would never hit for much power, peaking in 1975 when he slugged .394 for the Yankees. Although he would come to be known as an outfielder, when he was with the Tigers Maddox actually spent the most time at third base, the next most in the outfield, with some scattered playing time at shortstop.

His fielding stats would seem to indicate that he was a pretty mediocre hand in the field, and sort of fell apart at the end of his career, but quite frankly I tend to view fielding stats with a deep suspicion, so who knows.

Maddox was not born Jewish, but he did convert (although not until after he had left the Tigers). It is the rare baseball player who is Jewish; it’s even rarer to find one who converts to Judaism.

After he converted, Maddox joked,

Instead of having everyone call me a shvartze [a rather derogatory yiddish term for a black person], they called me a Jew.

There was probably not nearly the same stigma attached to Judaism when Maddox converted (the 70s) as there was earlier in baseball’s history, but it still was not a decision that many would have made, nor is it a decision that many would make today. A converted Jew and a Wolverine… Roar of the Tigers salutes you, Mr. Maddox, most heartily.

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