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Memorable Manitobans: Leible Hershfield (1909-1999)

Athlete.

Born in Zhitomer, Russia in 1909, son of Falik and Sara Zlota Hershfield, he moved to Winnipeg with his family in 1910. A natural athlete, he played most sports well and excelled at several, including track and field, soccer, and softball. He played softball for the YMHA teams from the age of 15, and later boasted that for 27 years he had played centre field without a glove. Spending most of his working life with the YMHA, he taught hundreds of children and adults how to swim. In 1969 he was selected Jewish Athlete of the Half-Century and, in 2000, as Jewish Athlete of the 20th Century. A sports columnist in later years for the Jewish Post, he wrote a survey of Jewish sports in Winnipeg entitled The Jewish Athlete: A Nostalgic View (1980). He was awarded a Manitoba Centennial Medal by the Manitoba Historical Society (1970) and was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (1981) and posthumously into the Manitoba Softball Hall of Fame (2002). He died at Winnipeg on 18 June 1999.

Sources:

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 25 June 1999, page 38.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 28 November 2014

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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