Shlomo Lipetz, WBC Team Israel’s Batman and Forrest Gump, Rolled Into One
Fox Sports has a great feature on Shlomo Lipetz, World Baseball Classic Team Israel’s legend (hat tip: Craig).
In October 2001, a hairy Israeli man in skinny jeans and a skin-tight nightclub shirt strolled onto the baseball field at San Diego Mesa Junior College. Thousands of miles from home and just three weeks removed from mandatory military service, the 22-year-old freshman approached one of the coaches and introduced himself.
“Hi, I’m Shlomo,” he proclaimed in broken English. “I want to play baseball.”
Twenty-two years later, the 6-foot-4 sidearming Israeli soft-tosser is the second-oldest player in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
Armed with a mid-70s fastball, a vagabond’s passport, a mullet and, sometimes, a gold tooth, Lipetz is Kenny Powers, Forrest Gump, Paul Bunyan, Batman and Walter Johnson rolled into one. He has pitched around the globe — from Tel Aviv to Vienna, Belgrade to Seoul, Tecate to Blagoevgrad, San Diego to Turin, from the Tokyo Olympics to Central Park — all the while carrying the Israeli baseball community on his shoulders.
“He’s a sort of mythical figure, a magnetic personality with wisdom to share.” said Sam Fuld, a member of Israel’s 2017 WBC team and current GM of the Phillies. “A father figure, but also the cool dad.”
“There’s a character there,” shared Alon Leichman, the current assistant pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds and as a longtime Israel baseballer, one of Lipetz’s closest friends. “He’s 6-4. He dresses European. He has a mullet or a mustache or both. He only throws like 77, but he’s putting the ball wherever he wants. Oh, and he’ll give you a [complete game] every single time.”
“He dresses like a f—ing magician,” jokes Nate Fish, the self-proclaimed King of Jewish Baseball, a longtime friend of Shlomo’s and a current coach on Israel’s staff.
Now wait until you hear about the day job. Lipetz is the President of Venues for City Winery, one of the nation’s preeminentlive event space companies. He has worked there since its founding in 2008, helping to develop City Winery from a single location in NYC to a nationwide collective with venues and programs all across the country. Tasked with organizing and booking City Winery’s musical acts, Lipetz’s Instagram is dotted with pictures of him in the presence of people like John Prine, Bill Withers, Phoebe Bridgers and Paul McCartney.
“Everyone is like, ‘How does he do all this?'” says Leichmann. “I don’t know, because he’s f—ing Shlo.”
This is the legend of Shlomo Lipetz.
They had me at mullet and gold teeth.
Read the entire thing.
Update: Yeah, he’s a legend.