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Art Shamsky

(1941 - )

Arthur "Art" Shamsky is a Jewish American former professional baseball player and member of the 1969 champion New York Mets.

Shamsky (born October 14, 1941) was born in St. Louis, Missouri and began his professional career in 1960 by hitting a home run in his first at-bat playing for Geneva in the New York Penn League. He made his Major League debut with Cincinnati on April 17, 1965.

An outfielder with a sweet left-handed stroke, Shamsky hit 21 home runs in only 96 games the following season while platooning against right-handed pitchers, with four HRs coming in consecutive at-bats on August 12–14 to tie the record. His bat was sent to Cooperstown. After being traded to the Mets on November 8, 1967, Shamsky became a hero to New York's Jewish community when he hit .300 with 14 HRs and 47 RBIs as the cleanup-hitting fourth outfielder and left-handed pinch hitter for the 1969 championship team.

Like other Jewish players before him, Shamsky refused to play on Yom Kippur. Shamsky remained with the Mets until 1972, when he played in a total of 22 games for the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics before back problems forced his retirement.

After retiring Shamsky worked as a sports broadcaster on radio and television for eight years, and was a radio & television announcer for the New York Mets from 1979 to 1981. He is the author of The Magnificent Seasons (2004).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. &co py; 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.

Photo: Flcikr user slgckgc, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons