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August 14, 2009

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PAGE 12A By Ron Kaplan New Jersey Jewish News Not only was Hank Green- berg baseball's first Jewish superstar, he was also the first major professional athlete to enlist for service in World War II. But according to a pre- sentation delivered at the national convention of the Society for American Base- ball Research, Greenberg's patriotism and altruism was tempered by pragmatism. SABR, a 7,000-member in- ternational organization of scholars, authors, and aficio- nados, held its 39th annual convention in Washington, D.C. during the last week of July. In his presentation--"Tll Go When They Collar Me': Athletic Heroes, Citizen-Sol- diers, and The Press Coverage of Hank Greenberg's 1941 Military Enlistments" (the plural is not a typo)--Jacob Baska, a graduate student at Indiana University-Bloom- ington, told an audience of about 100 that Greenberg always meant to fulfill what he thought of as his duty as an American. Following the 1940 season, in which the Detroit Tiger slugger helped his team win the American League pen- nant, Greenberg registered for the draft in accordance HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 14, 2009 Hank Greenberg: Patriot or pragmatist? with the Selective Service Training Act of 1940. But instead of doing so as a resident of his native New York, he listed his primary residence as the Detroit hotel in which he lived during the season, and "thereby drew a rather low number when draft boards commenced their work," Baska said. Naturally, an athlete of Greenberg's stature drew a hefty amount of media atten- tion and he told the press he was eager toserve and would request no special treatment. But he did request a delay in his draft board questionnaire, according to Baska's findings, which didn't sit so well with some of the writers. "Prior to the official Ameri- can declaration of war in December 1941, the SSTA required draftees to serve in the military for one year from the time of their enlistment," Baska said. "Accordingly, Greenberg would potentially lose his income for two sea- sons if he were drafted in the spring of 1941 and unable to return for the end of the 1942 season." When confronted by the press on his return from a vacation in Hawaii, Green- berg confirmed the request but reiterated his intention to serve whenever he was called. Some sportswriters and columnists, however, chided him for what they perceived Taxes and laws are ever-changing. Is your finandal advisor up-to-date? Is your money earning up to its potential? We are a group of finandal professionals with years of extensive experience in wealth preservation, product independent advice, finandal and risk management, income producing slxategies, retirement planning, and tax management*. Call ~407-875-2674 for your complimentary initial assessment. ASSET MANAGEMENT PART N E R S ~ ~ADVISOIt 407 Wekiva Springs Road, Suite 247, Longwood, FL 32779 1605 Main Street, Suite 1110, Sarasota, FL 34236 as selfishness in a time of crisis. With global tensions increasing, they opined that he should volunteer rather than wait to be drafted. "I'll go when they collar me," was Greenberg's reply, although Baska said it was meant to be humorous. He said the press did not mention Greenberg's reli- gion, notable especially in Detroit, where Henry Ford and Father Charles Coughlin often railed against Jews in their media outlets. Greenberg could have been excused for a medical condi- tion that belied his athletic prowess: fiat feet. After all, Baska said, other men with that problem might be dis- missed. But government of- ficials were wary of showing Greenberg any consideration that could be construed as favoritism, harkening back to the Civil War when men of means were able to buy their way out of military service. "Greenberg was a test-run for determining the draft's egalitarianism," Baska said. In April 1941, Greenberg was officially classified as 1-A. He went out in high fashion, hitting two home runs in a 7-4 Tigers win in his last game before reporting for duty in early May. Greenberg served with the Army Air Corps for about six months, reaching the rank Mitchell Walk, Pr~/d~at, AAMS Bruce Udell, CEO, CLU, ChFC, MCEP, RFC Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc.. a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRNSIPC and a Federally Registered Investment Advisor. Investment Advisory Services also offered through Asset Management Partners. a Registered Investment Advisor. Asset Management Partners is an affiliate of NFP Securities, Inc., and a subsidiary of National Financial Partners, Corp., the parent company of NFP Securities, Inc. *NFP Securities Inc. and Asset Management Partners do not provide legal or tax advice. Ron Kaplan Jacob Baska delivers his paper on Hank Greenberg's military enlistments at the 39th convention of the Society for American Baseball Research. of sergeant in his anti-tank company, before he was discharged when the gov- ernment decided to release all men over 28 years of age (Greenberg would turn 31 on Jan. 1). The date of his discharge: Dec. 5. Two days later, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Har- bor, Greenberg re-enlisted. "I'm going back in," he told the media. "We are in trouble, and there is only [one] thing to do: return to service." Recognizing the dire situ- ation, Greenberg said, "Base- ball is out the window as far as I'm concerned. I don't know if I'll ever return to baseball. If I do, all right. If not, well, that's all right, too." He remained in the ser- vice until the middle of 1945, losing almost 3 1/2 prime years. He returned to the Tigers, helping them Hank Greenberg (1) during WWII. win the world championship that season. Greenberg retired in 1947 with 331 home runs and was inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1956. Not a bad ca- reer by any means, but SABR members love to speculate what his statistics might have been had those fiat feet kept him out of the military. Ron Kaplan is the features editor at the New Jersey Jewish News, from which this article was reprinted by permission. New drug for children with high-risk leukemia TEL AVIV--Each year, ap- proximately 4,500 children in America are diagnosed with leukemia, according to the Leu- kemia and Lymphoma Society. A potentially deadly cancer of the blood, it is the most com- mon cancer in children. "Modern medicine can cure eight out of 10 cases of child- hood leukemia, so parents can still be hopeful when they hear a diagnosis," says Dr. Shai Izraeli of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine and Sheba Medical Center. "Our research gives hope and life to the 20 percent who might not make it as well as those who may experience a relapse." The first researchers to discover a mutation of the JAK2 protein in patients with Down syndrome, the Tel Aviv University team suspected that this protein might also be linked to other disorders and diseases--and they were right. Based on the successful results of this research a drug that is already in clinical trials for a blood disease common in adults may be relevant for acute childhood leukemia. If initial trials go well, the drug could fast-track through approvals and could be available for treat- ing children with leukemia in only a few years. The recentfindings are based on Izraeli's original discovery of the JAK2 in Down syndrome, published recently in the pres- tigious medical journal "The Lancet." According to Izraeli, asimilar mutation of the JAK2 in Down syndrome and leukemia causes Polycythemia Vera, a disease common in adults that leads to the overproduction of blood. This discovery of a similar mu- tation in a subset of pediatric leukemia cases may provide a path to new life-saving medica- tion options. Izraeli first discovered JAK2 mutations in children who initially suffered from Down syndrome and subsequently developed leukemia (a child with Down syndrome is 20 to 30 times more likely to develop leukemia during childhood than a child without it). Izraeli was then inspired to screen for gene mutations that could result in increased prolifera- tion of cells. In collaboration with the iBFM Study Group, a European childhood leukemia consortium, 90 cases of Down syndrome leukemia from all over Europe were studied. A JAK2 mutation was found in 20 percent of these cases. The discovery represents a unique biological phenom- enon. "This is perhaps the first example of two very similar-- but different--mutations that apparently do the same thing in a cellular protein. But they're associated with two completely different disorders, one that causes polycythemia in adults and the other that causes leu- kemia in children," says Izraeli. "Those children at the high- est risk for leukemia may be treatedwithinhibitorsofJAK2," he says. "And because of the existence of polycythemia in adults, there are already drugs to fight polycythemia entering into trials as we speak. We will know in just a few years what these drugs are capable of." Izraeli says the discovery offers "potential hope" to chii- drenwho suffer from leukemia. "JAK2 inhibitors are not based on chemotherapy. The first experiences with'these treat- ments show very few side ef- fects. All that researchers need to do is to expand these clinical trials to children and adults with high-risk leukemia--and that can happen relatively quickly," says Izraeli. He explains that typical chemotherapies for leukemia also have a high "toxicity cost." Children with leukemia are treated with 10 - 12 dif- ferent chemotherapies over a period of two to three years. Some of them have long-term and irreversible damage, such as neurological, heart, bone problems and sterility. Researchers looking for viable alternatives may turn to Iz- raeli's research as a promising avenue for success.