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Finally, aside from that May 5, 1962, no-hitter against a young Brooks Robinson and the Baltimore Orioles, his career was considerably worse than undistinguished.
His parents’ journey was textbook, identical to that of Ed Koch’s mom and dad–from the crumbling Lower East Side tenement, to the wide boulevards of the Bronx, to New Jersey–and similar to that of my own grandparents (they proceeded north to Westchester).
Bo’s mother was a ladies’ stocking inspector at Gotham Gold Stripe Hosiery Company.
Not that Belinsky’s name was there alongside Koufax and Greenberg and Leonard and Spitz in the thin book of Jewish sports heroes that used to sit on my night table. For starters, his father was Polish Catholic–not a disqualifier, but worth noting.
Second, Bo didn’t just pitch on Yom Kippur, he caroused on Kol Nidre.
–on Delancey Street, made himself in quintessential, child-of-immigrants fashion.
Once every decade or so, one comes along like this, a movie star in sanitary socks and spikes–a ballplayer who drives a candy-apple red Cadillac convertible, who can’t make curfew to save his life, who inspires even the most ham-fisted hacks of the press box to greatness.“There is a race to Bo Belinsky’s pad every morning,” a newspaperman once wrote.From that day forward, Bo was strictly Southern California A-list, a fixture in the Peppermint West Lounge and Jerry Lewis’ place, a favorite cocktail-party prop for every publicist, producer, agent and director in Beverly Hills.“Playing baseball seemed only incidental,” Belinsky told Maury Allen for the latter’s rollicking 1973 book, Bo: Pitching and Wooing .
“I was just on a mad whirl, day and night.” I, however, was always drawn to another, less discussed fact in Belinsky’s bio: His grandmother, a Russian Jew from the shtetl , called him bubelah .Movie stars are not born, they’re made, and Bo Belinsky, who began his American odyssey–where else?