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Johnny Kling: Baseball's 1st Jewish Star?

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  • Johnny Kling: Baseball's 1st Jewish Star?

    I grew up believing that Hank Greenberg was the first Jewish baseball star. But there is a raging online debate as to whether Johnny Kling, star Cub's catcher actually deserves to be accorded that honor.

    The book by Gil Bogen seems to have stoked that burning debate. Johnny's wife Lillian, claimed he was not, in a long-term series of letters to the Hall of Fame. Lillian herself was Jewish.

    What say you, oh amazing Fever researchers? Was it Johnny or someone else?
    1
    My research leads me to suspect that he probably was Jewish.
    0.00%
    0
    My readings lead me to supect that he was probably not Jewish.
    0.00%
    0
    I doubt if we will ever really know for sure. Too inconclusive.
    100.00%
    1
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-28-2008, 12:29 PM.

  • #2
    Here is some online information.

    http://209.85.175.104/search?q=cache...lnk&cd=3&gl=us

    http://209.85.175.104/search?q=cache...lnk&cd=6&gl=us

    http://209.85.175.104/search?q=cache...lnk&cd=7&gl=us
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-28-2008, 12:19 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Bill Burgess View Post
      I grew up believing that Hank Greenberg was the first Jewish baseball star.
      Depends on if you consider Kling a star.
      Also depends if you think what is really trying to be said about Greenberg is that he was the 1st "superstar/all time great," which Kilng wasn't, even if Kling was a star of a lesser magnitude.
      Last edited by dgarza; 03-28-2008, 12:18 PM.

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      • #4
        I understand, but for the moment, let's set aside the issue of whether or not Kling was a star.

        Let's focus on whether or not Johnny Kling was a Jewish player, or not. I'd like to know.

        Thanks.

        Comment


        • #5
          Pretty scathing review.

          Ken & Bev Eccles ([email protected]) , A Klingresearch team member,1999-06, 10/13/2006

          Extensive research, as to facts listed in this book, a total Disgrace. How could anyone write a biography on a person and miss that Johnny Kling , his business partner and nephew, Bennie Allen, had made front page news in KC, as to a 4 year Federal Grand Jury case around Charles Carollo 'Mob' and the T J Pendergast machine? Baseball's, Judge Landis, Ford Frick. both League Presidents, plus the top BBWWAA arrived in KC just four days later and stayed at the President Hotel next to Kling & Allen's, Dixon Hotel for the KC Blues vs All Star Game. Since Kling was the last owner, selling the KC Blues to the Yankees in 1937, you can bet they heard about Kling's name being mentioned.

          Seems the author failed to research gambling, even after few words as to the basement from Mrs. Helen Allen in his book. A story from 1935 mentioning two gambling establishments in the basement of a hotel, on the SE corner of 12th and Baltimore, the exact location of the Dixon, mentioned in the book, were missed.

          Kling's parents deaths and burial locations,'Union Cemetery'which didn't sound like Jewish burial's. John Kling senior's arrival in 1881 to KC, all this information was available at the KCMO Public, but not listed in the book, why? As to Jewish sports history books, which started in 1948 after Kling's death in 1947. For more than 40+ years, they all stated, Johnny Kling's real name was KLINE,'the wrong way to teach young Jewish Kids about Sports Stars.' One from 1965 had him as KLING, an article written by Lee Allen.

          But in 1969, after one of many letters from Mrs Lillian Kling to the HOF and to Mr.Allen, on Feb 18,1969 a personal letter was sent back to her from Mr.Allen, thanking her for straighting out the Jewish issue at the HOF, he told her, he was taking her info as to Johnny not being Jewish to Roy Silver, the 1965 author of the book in NY. Sadly, Mr Allen died a few months later while in NY.

          In the 1970s, Mr. Joe Siegman of the Jewish Hall of Fame tried to contact the family of the late Johnny Kling, found and talked to one of Johnny's son-laws, Mr Siegman was told the same story. Kling wasn't Jewish. In 1983, I sent this information this important Jewish Information, as to Mr. Allen's reply in 1969, plus, Mr. Siegman's findings, as directed from Kling's grandaughter to the author for a review. Why aren't these facts listed in the book also?

          I will add, even a few of the pictures, etc, used in this book, then credited as being located from the HOF, KCMO Library or from Chicago are not true facts. Some were copied from the July, 2000 collection, donated by Ken & Bev Eccles to Longview Lake, thanks to the Kling grandaughter's in KC.

          As to the 1909 holdout, Salary NO, but Kling did hold out for his own personal gain as to $$$ in his KC business and no other excuse should have been allowed! Kling's selling of the Blues, leaving KCMO and moving to his farm, plus his name into the HOF, and disappearing votes, chances are, due to his name and years of business operation's around the mob, illegal gambling. Baseball leaders at HOF & BBWWA could have ruled him out behind closed door's. Some records here as to this case are sealed for life. So who's to say at the HOF, they even kept or recorded any mentioning of the Mob and Johnny Kling, because of their own personal safety. Baseball didn't accept Gambling or Gambler's back then, nor do they today!

          Until Kling is cleared around this issue, he shouldn't even be a candiate, to be voted on at any HOF. His own family in KC supports this review. Our old e-mail was used in this book. (Bevjjean) and our names are listed many times in the back. If you want a Fictional Biography with a few Sprinklings of Facts, then buy it and good luck with the errors, out of town newspaper reports listed and poorly researched facts. I'd recommend donating to a Jewish charitable organization rather than Johnny Kling's book. As to this date, Johnny Kling being Jewish has not been proven. nor was it in this book, Kling's funeral was Christain!!

          Comment


          • #6
            While I wouldn't know for sure whether Kling was Jewish or not, I do know that wikipedia recognizes Lip Pike (1845-1893) as baseball's first Jewish star.
            "Age is a question of mind over matter--if you don't mind, it doesn't matter."
            -Satchel Paige

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            • #7
              Originally posted by rsuriyop View Post
              While I wouldn't know for sure whether Kling was Jewish or not, I do know that wikipedia regards Lip Pike as baseball's first Jewish star.
              Careful - you're blowing too many minds here - few believe the game existed prior to 1901.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by rsuriyop View Post
                While I wouldn't know for sure whether Kling was Jewish or not, I do know that wikipedia recognizes Lip Pike (1845-1893) as baseball's first Jewish star.
                And Levi Meyerle

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