Cieradkowski: Jake Atz, his whole story from A to Z

From SABR member Gary Cieradkowski at The Infinite Baseball Card Set on August 11, 2015:

When I first started this blog a little over five years ago, I started receiving many requests for players to be profiled on here and given The Infinite Baseball Card Set “treatment.” Out of all the emails I began to notice that it was not one particular player that was asked for the most, but rather a whole ethnic group: Jewish ballplayers. I did cards and stories on here of Sandy Koufax and Moe Berg, but I began slowly researching different players of the Jewish faith, trying to find characters who would fit in with the kind of tales I like to write – guys with interesting stories who may not be known to the casual fan of baseball history. Jake Atz was one of those guys, and in fact he appears on page 3 of the Premier Issue of “21: The Illustrated Journal of Outsider Baseball.” (although it’s a different illustration).

Since the Cincinnati Red Stockings first stepped foot on a ball field back in 1869, professional baseball has produced more great legends than any other sport in history. From Ty Cobb’s sharpened spikes to Babe Ruth’s called shot to Steve Bartman being the sole cause of the Cubs playoff collapse, baseball’s great legends, whether true or false, are what made the game so enduring over the decades. And as many tales and legends are attributed to Major League Baseball, the minor leagues have produced an infinitely greater number.

Take the story of Jake Zimmerman. It’s the turn of the century and Zimmerman was a young Jewish kid from Washington, D.C. trying to get his foot firmly placed on the bottom rung of the professional baseball ladder. The story goes that Jake’s teammates lined up alphabetically to receive their pay each week. Finances in the low minors at the turn of the century was precarious to say the least, and from time to time by the time Jake got to the front of the line, the team treasurer had run out of funds. Refusing to let a mere surname get in the way of his financial stability, Jake Zimmerman became Jake Atz. Problem solved and an enduring baseball legend is born.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: September 2, 2015. Last Updated: September 2, 2015.