Epstein: Former pitcher Bob Tufts on lessons learned from Judaism and baseball

From Dan Epstein at Jewish Baseball Museum on May 27, 2016, with SABR member Bob Tufts:

There is much more to Bob Tuft’s story than what he did in the big leagues.

A 6’5” left-hander with good breaking stuff and, by his own admission, “a really bad-looking motion,” Tufts was drafted by the San Francisco Giants out of Princeton University in 1977. He went on to spend parts of three seasons in the majors as a reliever for the Giants and — after they traded him to Kansas City with Vida Blue in the deal that sent future All-Star Atlee Hammaker and three other players to San Francisco — the Royals, posting a 2-0 record with two saves and a 4.71 ERA in 27 major league appearances. Arm troubles forced him to retire from the game at the age of 27, following the 1983 season.

But the most notable thing about Tufts’ MLB career didn’t happen on the diamond; rather, he’s one of just a handful of major leaguers to convert to Judaism during his playing career. Tufts began the process in 1980, and officially converted in 1982, the year he married Suzanne Israel, his college sweetheart. (Their daughter, Abigail, would go on to win silver medals in 2005 and 2007 as a member of the USA Maccabi Women’s Indoor Volleyball Team.)

Tufts earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at Princeton; after retiring from baseball, he earned his MBA from Columbia University. After spending 22 years on Wall Street with Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and other banks, he now teaches business classes as an adjunct professor at NYU and Yeshiva University. Diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2009, Tufts is now in full remission, thanks in part to aggressive and experimental cancer treatments; the experience led him to co-found an online not-for-profit called My Life Is Worth It, which advocates for patient and doctor access and choice in care.

Read the full article here: http://jewishbaseballmuseum.com/spotlight-story/qa-bob-tufts/

Originally published: May 31, 2016. Last Updated: May 31, 2016.