Leon Feingold

I played catch yesterday with a former minor league pitcher named Leon Feingold. It was fun and scary. First of all, he’s 6-foot-5-and-a-half. Secondly, he can still hit about 90mph on the radar gun. Third, we were throwing in a small gym that was barely longer than the distance from the mound to the plate. Fourth, the white cinder-block background made it tough to see the ball coming out of his hand. Fifth, he was throwing an assortment of pitches with nasty movement (tailing fastballs, splitters, knuckleballs, change-ups, and curves). One of his fastballs broke the webbing of my glove. Luckily, my face wasn’t behind it at the time. So yeah, fun and scary. It makes me wonder…if a guy who struggled with a shoulder injury in the lowest levels of the minors 13 Leon_feingoldyears ago is still this good while goofing around in a cramped gym in the middle of the winter, what would it have been like to stand in the batters box against Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson in their primes? Now THAT is scary.

When I first showed up at the gym, Leon (who still pitches professionally in the Israel Baseball League) was finishing a pitching lesson with a kid who looked to be about 10 years old. Before the kid left with his mom, Leon introduced me as a “famous baseball expert,” which was kind of embarrassing. Peter Gammons is a famous baseball expert. I’m not. What did I do next? Duh. I grabbed my wallet and flipped it open to the bathtub photo, and as soon as the kid saw it, his eyes lit up. “Hey!” he shouted. “I’ve seen you on TV! You get all the balls at Shea Stadium and you switch hats and speak different languages!”

If I were genuinely famous, the kid would’ve recognized me without the wallet–and he would’ve known my name. But I’ll take it. I’m still young, and anyway, fame isn’t my ultimate goal anymore. Don’t ask me what is. I’m still trying to figure it out.


  1. padreleigh@hotmail.com

    You know you’ve hit rock bottom professionally when you find yourself pitching in the….Israeli Baseball League. The Carolina League isn’t great either, but the bus rides are a lot safer. Ha ha. Maybe he’ll get to play in the next WBC though. Zack, can you ask for a ball in Hebrew and/or Arabic yet?


  2. Zack

    Not if you’re Jewish and enjoy being in Israel. Obviously, Leon and all the other guys in the Israeli league have (or at least had) major league aspirations, but it’s not a professional dead end. A few young players have been signed to minor league contracts out of the league. If I remember correctly, Leon compared the level of competition to Division One, so there are scouts who occasionally come to check out the action…and yeah, I know how to ask for a ball in Hebrew. (And Yiddish.)


    Yep. It’s easy. Only four syllables. Sounds like “moo jay BAHL doh.”


    I just found that YouTube video, thanks to your comment. Wacky stuff.

  3. db3par@aol.com

    Yeah, it was a good idea to check up with your half-brother on the Latin translation. I’m only in the beginning of the second semester of Latin One. I had to look up ball on Google because it wasn’t in our books. That’s cool you got to throw with a guy who still throws in the 90’s. I’ve thrown with Tom Carroll who played on the 1976 (?) Reds World Series Team. Now my dad and him are really good friends, so hopefully he’ll show me how to properly pitch.

  4. puckcollector@optonline.net

    If youre in Latin 1, you’re probably in high school right? Or can you take Latin at college?

  5. Zack

    Well, he doesn’t still throw IN the 90’s, but he can still come pretty close. I’ll bet he could throw in the 90’s if he were allowed to run up and take a crow hop. Very cool that you’ve gotten to throw with someone who was in the World Series.

  6. db3par@aol.com

    In my county, 8th graders can take a foreign language. So I’m taking a high school class and getting some credits before high school. Like I’ve already done Algebra 1 and I’m in Geometry right now.

  7. puckcollector@optonline.net

    Do you live in NJ, because if you live in NY, i think smart 8th graders take Math A, which is a H.S course. ANd if you high schhool course is algebra and geometry, than you must not live in NY. In my school, kids can choose to tkae Sapnish, Italian, or French in 7th grade, then can chosse Latin or Greek, and I think they added Chinese in 9th grade.

  8. sammywu17@hotmail.com

    I just had an amazing afternoon at my school(USC) today. I met the Korean pitcher Chan Ho Park. I got 3 autos from him. He is extremely famous in Asia’s baseball community. I am sure the reason he came to my school is because the head baseball coach of USC, Chad Kreuter, used to be the designated catcher of Park when they are in dodgers and rangers.

    Today my friend called me saying he saw Park at parking lot. I drove over and try to find him in USC’s baseball field. He was indeed throwing bullpen sessions(On Mark Prior Bullpen, yes, that mark prior) with his trainers while my school’s team doing practice. He is non-roster invitee for dodgers in st. There is one parent(of a USC player) on the bleacher did not recognize Park. He told me he thought that’s a new recruit who was throwing so hard on the mound that he worried about the increasing competition with his pitcher son.

    I got him signed on ROMLB, world baseball classic ball and a dodger replica jersey. My friend on ROMLB. He sweetspoted all balls. However, I totally forgot to bring the foul ball I caught in Dodger stadium from 2000(He was the pitcher that nite). He is actually a really nice guy. I don’t hate him as much now. (by the way, the entire taiwanese population hate korean baseball players) I am sure I will still be able to get autos from him next week.

    Here is the link to the pictures:http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/jw!u6fxHcWBERpFtBkpjT0DLJVIND_J8nrH/article?mid=147&prev=-1&next=139


    Seem like I won’t attend the friar fest next week. My school already starts and I heard that ppl who are not season ticket holders got no chance on big name stars. I will see you in May Reds game. Have fun in ST.


    BTW, the last math class I took is Partial Differential Equation

  9. Zack

    Nice pics, and that is SO funny about the parent who didn’t recognise him. Congrats on getting his autograph three times. Did you know that Park was the pitcher who threw the ball that Barry Bonds homered into my glove two years ago?

  10. puckcollector@optonline.net

    Now that you mentioned the Bonds ball, I remember someone saying that you were 1 of 2 guys to catch a 724th HR. Actually you are one of 3 guys. Can anyone guess why?

    And I hope the Feds bring down Tejeda. A lot of people told me that he was a jerk. He like flipped off a fan 2 years ago.

  11. sammywu17@hotmail.com

    Didn’t know that.

    Today I just receive 2 fan packs from the Indians and A’s. It my first time receving them. It waw amazing considering I just emailed out the request last Mon. The cleveland one got a lot of goodies. The postage cost $2.67. The A’s one is pretty cheap. postage $.41 But overall, I am pretty happy.

    Here are pics I took:




    Thanks for sharing your tips

  12. puckcollector@optonline.net

    Well, I went to the Isles game tonight (unfortunatly.) It was my first in 3 weeks, and security, who gives me a ton of pucks, recognized me (again.) I was thinking about retiring when I get 100 pucks, and now after this game it’s a real posibility. I didn’t get a game puck, cuz two 5 year-old with cotton candy on their face got the game pucks. UHHHH!

  13. db3par@aol.com

    Yeah, this year for baseball snagging, I’m going to use my 5 year old sister to try and attract the player’s attention. Maybe it will work….

  14. hdavid_27@yahoo.com

    Hey zack its darron all i have to say is yeessssssssssssssss the Giants just won against the packers and i just won 12 dollars

  15. gjk2212@yahoo.com




  16. Zack

    What a pain. Sorry to hear about that. But c’mon, don’t retire! You have to go for 1,000 pucks.


    Thanks for showing me those pics. I’d never seen a fan pack before, so this was truly an educational experience.


    I have a feeling it WILL work.


    If you invest that money now, you’ll have $4.2 billion by the time you’re 83.


    You’re too funny. I’m happy for the Giants, and I feel funny saying this, but I’m really looking forward to the Superbowl.

  17. mike.los@lhsc.on.ca

    Hey Zacker:

    Are you out of your flipping mind? Next time you decide to face a flame thrower — please wear a mask and a protective cup to save the family jewels! What were you thinking?

  18. mike.los@lhsc.on.ca


    I just watched your CBS News interview with Katie Couric and Steve Hartman for old times sake. That was an “amazing” interview about (snagging baseballs) in major league baseball parks. I loved watching every minute of it! Asking for a ball in 27 different languages,c’mon, and now you have the nerve to add Polish to the repertoire. I love it!

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