This special memory is told by Hank Aberman, the perpetrator himself, in his own words.
Ducky Kauffman, a life-long friend of Herbie, came to camp in 1958 with his treasured bat that he had used for almost a decade in the Philly softball leagues.
He let me use it in the legendary Hill/ IJ game of 1958. In the last inning, if you remember, I flied out the first time up. I got so angry I hit the ground with one hand with the bat, and it just snapped in two. Ducky screamed, “Bigger animals than you couldn’t break that bat! Look what you’ve done!”
I felt terrible, but all of that anguish was lost when we came back to win the game. I slept like a rock that night, but I was awakened at the crack of dawn by the imposing sight of Herbie, in a Yarmulke and Tallit, with a prayer book, solemnly intoning, “Get up, we have come to bury the bat”.
And so we did, in a grave dug between Hill 1 and 2. Herbie conducted the service and, at its conclusion, I posed in sorrow at the bat’s final resting place.
If you look carefully at my right knee, Herbie had carved a Jewish star headstone with the inscription, ”A Bat, Born 1949, Killed In Action, July 28th 1958”.
Only Herbie could think of such an appropriate Saginaw sendoff.
July 28, 1958