December 27 – Happy Birthday Herb Karpel

karpelThe evening of August 8, 1939 was Herb Karpel Night at Mohawk Mills Park in Amsterdam, NY. The 21-year-old left-hander, who was born in Brooklyn on December 27, 1917 was enjoying a phenomenal season on the mound for the Amsterdam Rugmakers and the Carpet City’s Jewish Community wanted to show their appreciation for Karpel who would go on to become the first Jewish pitcher in New York Yankee franchise history.

Former Amsterdam Mayor Carl Salmon was on hand to serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the event assisted by attorney Joe Jacobs. Over 800 noisemakers were handed out at the gate and Karpel gave the crowd reason to use them when he pitched a complete game victory over the Rome Colonels for his 17th win of the season. In addition to the “W” Karpel received a suit of clothes from an unnamed local apparel store. He would go on to make the Canadian-American Baseball League record book that year by becoming the first pitcher in that circuit’s history to win 20 games during a regular season. His sweeping sinker thrown with an oddball pitching motion led the Ruggies to their second consecutive Can-Am League Pennant and earned Karpel a promotion to Class B Piedmont the following year.

During the next three seasons he climbed…

You can read the rest of my story about this former Amsterdam Rugmaker in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

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