SHAMSKY, ARTHUR LOUIS (Art; 1941– ), U.S. baseball player, member of the 1969 champion New York Mets. Born in St. Louis, Shamsky 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 in a Yom Kippur doubleheader that season. His seven hits in 13 at-bats led all batters in the NL Championship Series sweep against Atlanta. The following season, Shamsky hit .293 and registered career-highs in games (122), hits (118), runs (48), and RBIs (49). He remained with the Mets until 1972, when he played in a total of 22 games for the Chicago Cubs and Oakland A's before back problems forced his retirement. His lifetime numbers were .253 in 665 games, with 68 HRs, 194 runs, and 233 RBIs. 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. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.