|Born: April 4, 1943|
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
|September 16, 1966, for the Baltimore Orioles|
|Last MLB appearance|
|April 28, 1974, for the California Angels|
|Runs batted in||380|
|Career highlights and awards|
Michael Peter Epstein (born April 4, 1943), nicknamed "Superjew", is an American former professional baseball player for the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Senators / Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics, and California Angels of Major League Baseball (MLB).
Early and personal life
Epstein was born in the Bronx, New York, and is Jewish. His parents were Jack (a salesman, born in Toronto, Canada) and Evelyn (born in New York City). When he was three years old, his family moved to Hartsdale, New York, and then when he was 13 to Fairfax in Los Angeles, California. Epstein said of his father, who refused when Epstein was still a minor to sign a contract on his behalf with the Dodgers: "He wanted me to be a lawyer, rather than a bum."
Epstein played for the baseball and football teams while attending Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, graduating in 1961.
Epstein attended the University of California-Berkeley, where he majored in social psychology and played college baseball for the California Golden Bears. He graduated in 1964. Although his .375 batting average in 1963 led to a contract offer by the Los Angeles Dodgers, he decided to finish college. The following year, he batted .384 as a senior and was named an All-American. He represented the United States in baseball at the 1964 Summer Olympics as a demonstration sport in Tokyo.
Epstein played for the Stockton Ports of the California League in 1965, and led the league in batting average (.338) and home runs (30; tying a league record set by Vince DiMaggio). He was named the league's most valuable player (MVP). Rival manager Rocky Bridges nicknamed him "Superjew" for his efforts that season.
Epstein played for the Rochester Red Wings of the International League in 1966, batting .309 with 29 home runs and 102 runs batted in (RBIs), earning him league MVP and Rookie of the Year honors. He was also named an All Star and received The Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year Award and Topps Minor League Player of the Year Award.
Epstein was first brought up for six games by the Baltimore Orioles in 1966, at the age of 23. After the Orioles tried in vain to convert him to the outfield (they already had Boog Powell at first base), they demoted him to Rochester again. The outspoken Epstein refused to report, going home to California instead. He was traded in May 1967 with Frank Bertaina to the Washington Senators for Pete Richert. Later that season, in his first at-bat against the Orioles, Epstein hit a grand slam. In 1968 he was 4th in the league in HBP (9).
In 1969 with the Senators, in only 403 at bats Epstein hit 30 home runs (ninth in the American League), had 85 runs batted in (RBIs), and hit for a .278 batting average (and .347 with runners in scoring position) with an excellent .414 on-base percentage and .551 slugging percentage. He was fourth in the league in hit by pitch (10), and he hit a home run every 13.4 at bats. He was 25th in voting for the American League MVP. This was also the only year in which the reconstituted Senators finished above .500.
In 1970 he was second in the league in being hit by a pitch (13), while hitting 20 home runs, and leading all AL first basemen in range factor (10.08).
In May 1971 he was traded along with Darold Knowles to the Oakland Athletics for Frank Fernandez, Don Mincher, Paul Lindblad, and cash. In 1971, while hitting 18 home runs in 329 at bats, he was hit by a pitch 12 times, leading the league. In 1972 he hit 26 home runs (3rd in the league) for the world champion Athletics. He hit a home run every 17.5 at bats (3rd in the AL), had a .490 slugging percentage (5th), a .376 on-base percentage (6th), 62 walks (10th), and was hit by a pitch 11 times (2nd). He was 16th in voting for the American League MVP.
Going hitless in 16 at bats during the World Series in addition to his feud with manager Dick Williams over lack of playing time resulted in the Athletics fulfilling his trade demand by sending him to the Texas Rangers for Horacio Piña on December 1, 1972. Additionally the A's wanted to free up the first base position for Gene Tenace who was the star of that same Fall Classic.
Opening 1973 batting .188 with one homer and six RBI, he was dealt along with Rich Hand and Rick Stelmaszek from the Rangers to the California Angels for Jim Spencer and Lloyd Allen on May 20. In 1973 he was seventh in the league in hit by pitch (8). On May 4, 1974, he was released by the Angels.
In 907 games over nine seasons, Epstein posted a .244 batting average (695-for-2854) with 362 runs, 130 home runs, 380 RBI, 448 bases on balls, .358 on-base percentage and .424 slugging percentage. He finished his career with a .991 fielding percentage playing every inning at first base. In 13 postseason games, he hit only .108 (4-for-37) with two runs scored, one home run, one RBI and nine walks.
In 1991 he was inducted into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted as a member of the United States National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
Through 2010, he was sixth all-time in career home runs (behind Mike Lieberthal) among Jewish major league baseball players.
In 2007, Epstein began a hitting school. His "rotational hitting" instruction has been used around the country, particularly on the West Coast.
- ^ James, Bill (May 11, 2010). The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781439106938.
- ^ Horvitz, Peter S.; Horvitz, Joachim (2001). The Big Book of Jewish Baseball: An Illustrated Encyclopedia & Anecdotal History. ISBN 9781561719730. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
- ^ Gorman, Lou (2007). High and Inside: My Life in the Front Offices of Baseball. ISBN 9780786431632. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
- ^ Levine, Peter (1993). Ellis Island to Ebbets Field: Sport and the American Jewish Experience. ISBN 9780195359008. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Mike Epstein Stats | Baseball-Reference.com
- ^ a b c d e The Big Book of Jewish Baseball - Peter S. Horvitz, Joachim Horvitz - Google Books
- ^ a b c Mike Epstein | Society for American Baseball Research
- ^ a b Ellis Island to Ebbets Field: Sport and the American Jewish Experience - Peter Levine - Internet Archive
- ^ a b c d e f "Epstein, Mike "Superjew"". Jews In Sports. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
- ^ a b c The Big Book of Jewish Baseball - Peter S. Horvitz, Joachim Horvitz - Google Books
- ^ Pete, Cava (1991). "Baseball at the Olympics" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 9, 2017. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
- ^ Durso, Joseph. "A's Send Epstein to Rangers; Scheinblum, Nelson to Reds," The New York Times, Saturday, December 2, 1972. Retrieved April 13, 2020
- ^ "Angels Get Epstein, Hand In 5‐Man Deal With Rangers," United Press International (UPI), Sunday, May 20, 1973. Retrieved December 4, 2021
- ^ Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame Home
- ^ Jewishsports.org
- ^ "Career Batting Leaders through 2010". Career Leaders. Jewish Major Leaguers. Archived from the original on April 17, 2019. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
- ^ Lukas, Paul (April 2, 2007). "A kosher look at Judaism in baseball". ("Uni Watch", on) ESPN Sports. Archived from the original on May 25, 2011. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
- ^ Hitting - Rotational Hitting - Mike Epstein Rotational Hitting
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball Reference, or Fangraphs, or Baseball Reference (Minors), or Retrosheet or Mike Epstein Baseballbiography.com , or Venezuelan Winter League, or "A kosher look at Judaism in baseball", 4/2/07
- 1943 births
- Living people
- Baltimore Orioles players
- Buffalo Bisons (minor league) players
- California Angels players
- California Golden Bears baseball players
- Fairfax High School (Los Angeles) alumni
- Florida Instructional League Orioles players
- International League MVP award winners
- Jewish American baseball managers
- Jewish American baseball players
- Jewish Major League Baseball players
- Major League Baseball first basemen
- Minor league baseball managers
- Oakland Athletics players
- Rochester Red Wings players
- Sportspeople from the Bronx
- Baseball players from New York City
- Baseball players from Los Angeles
- People from Fairfax, California
- People from Hartsdale, New York
- Stockton Ports players
- Texas Rangers players
- Tiburones de La Guaira players
- American expatriate baseball players in Venezuela
- Washington Senators (1961–1971) players
- Baseball players at the 1964 Summer Olympics
- 21st-century American Jews