June 17, 2023 – Reading about history is one thing, but what happens when a legendary sportswriter looks back nearly a century to recall his upbringing in Newark, New Jersey, during the trying decades of the ‘30s and ‘40s – as a Jewish kid, mind you — while Wall Street crashed and Hitler made war on the world?
In this episode, our time machine welcomes aboard a real time-traveler — at least, that’s how I like to think of people who bring us their memories from days few of us lived. His name is Jerry Izenberg, and his memoir — the most personal of his many books — is titled, “Baseball, Nazis & Nedick’s Hot Dogs: Growing up Jewish in the 1930s in Newark.”
Jerry Izenberg is one of just two daily newspaper columnists to have covered the first 53 Super Bowls. He’s also been there for 54 consecutive Kentucky Derbies and the last five Triple Crown-winning horses. He earned the Red Smith Award for sports writing, has been named the New Jersey Sportswriter of the Year five times – oh, and is an inductee in in 17 Halls of Fame.
In his memoir, Mr. Izenberg – now in his 90s – casts his keen eye back on his first two decades of life, the ones that made him who he is today, as he faced antisemitism, the Great Depression, and World War II to find love, community, and purpose. It’s a life well lived, and it ain’t over yet.
Thanks to David Pietrusza, author of the upcoming book, “Gangsterland: A Tour Through the Dark Heart of Jazz-Age New York City,” for submitting a video question for his fellow baseball writer. You can enjoy my previous interviews with David here:
- Roosevelt Sweeps Nation: FDR’s 1936 Landslide and the Triumph of the Liberal Ideal
- 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents
- 1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR ― Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal, and Unlikely Destiny
- TR’s Last War: Theodore Roosevelt, the Great War, and a Journey of Triumph and Tragedy
- Rothstein: The Life, Times, and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series
- Too Long Ago: A Childhood Memory. A Vanished World