Jews In Sports
A Throwback To Baseball's Old Days
Baseball player Brad Cohen
would remind grandstand observers of the way baseball was played in the old days.
Brad, a senior at California School for the Deaf - Riverside,
is a stand out baseball player on the school team. As the team's second baseman, he hit
.520 and .378 in the past two seasons, twice achieving Silent News Deaf Baseball
There is much more to baseball than just posting up gaudy
batting stats, and Brad knows it. He absorbed all the baseball lessons he could from his
father, Lou, an avid baseball fan, and an involved parent. Because Brad is short in size,
he had to outperform bigger players in intangibles that do not show up in the box scores -
stealing, sliding, bunting, throwing to the right base, backing up other infielders,
hitting into the holes, etc. In other words, getting the uniform dirty.
A prime challenge for Brad came up at the Deaf Sports Festival
at Council Bluffs, IA where the first time ever tryouts were conducted for the national
deaf baseball team. The selected players would represent USA at the Pan American Games for
the Deaf in Venezuela.
It would be great to say that Brad made the team - he didn't but he
was selected to the development group, a decision that was not met with complete agreement
by the coaching staff. There is a plus, however - Brad caught the eye of Jeff Salit, the
Gallaudet baseball coach who also doubles up as the USA deaf baseball coach.
Salit said "Brad has the potential to become a great Gallaudet
player. He needs to keep on improving."
Brad was at an immediate disadvantage when he reported to the
baseball camp. At the age of 16, he was one of the youngest players in the group. He had
to compete against many players already in their thirties and having played baseball all
their lives. And some of the players were talented enough to be given notices by the major
He was also one of the smallest players on the team on the team -
there were quite a few 6 footers towering over Brad. But the player in the camp with the
biggest heart was Brad - always hustling and scraping by.
The deaf team played seven games against local semi pro outfits and
came out with a respectable 3-3-1 record. Brad did not get too many at bats but one hit he
made was an important one - a perfectly laid bunt single kept alive a big rally. He also
made another hit.
At Riverside, baseball is not his only sport. He also plays
football, as a running back and as corner back. Before he winds up his football career at
Riverside he has just one goal - to defeat the much hated Fremont team!
And in baseball he also wants to sweep out Fremont in their annual
header series. Because of scheduling difficulties no game took place last spring, but they
will play again in 1997.
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