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Baseball historian Harvey Frommer, 83


Former North Woodmere and Far Rockaway resident and noted author and baseball historian Dr. Harvey Frommer died of complications from lung cancer at his home in Lyme, New Hampshire on Aug. 1. He was 83.

Born on Oct. 10, 1935, in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn to Max, a taxi driver, and Fannie, a homemaker. Frommer grew up loving baseball. Though he lived in the same borough as the Brooklyn Dodgers, he was a St. Louis Cardinals fan. He graduated from the Boys High School in Brooklyn in 1953 and went on to earn bachelor and master degrees, and a Ph.D. in media and communications, all from New York University over a span of 17 years. The degrees were earned in 1957, 1961 and 1974, respectively.

After earning his bachelor’s, Frommer worked as a reporter for United Press International wire service from 1957-58 covering the Chicago Cubs. He married Myrna Katz in 1960 and moved to Far Rockaway. Frommer taught English at Far Rockaway High School for roughly a decade. He eventually became a professor at City University of New York as he and his family moved to North Woodmere in the 1970s. Frommer would teach at CUNY until he moved to New Hampshire in 1992 to teach at Dartmouth College with his wife. He taught at Dartmouth up until the time of his death.

Tim Murphy, director of secondary school counseling of the Fessenden School in Newton, Mass., was a graduate student of Frommer’s at Dartmouth from 2006 to 2011. “Harvey Frommer was a wonderful professor, mentor and thesis advisor during my days at Dartmouth,” Murphy, a 2011 Dartmouth graduate said. “Going to grad school at Dartmouth, you never expect to develop a close relationship with one of your professors, but I had that with Harvey. He was such a warm, engaging and fascinating person.”

Frommer had an affinity for writing as he would go on to publish more than 50 books on topics ranging from baseball history to growing up Jewish in America. Some of his noteworthy books include: “Rickey and Robinson: The Men Who Broke Baseball's Color Barrier” and “New York City Baseball: The Golden Age, 1947-1957,” a 1980 book detailing the history of the final decade of the city professional baseball teams: the Dodgers, Giants and Yankees. He was also the co-author of autobiographies on Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, pro football Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett and basketball Hall of Famers Nancy Lieberman and Red Holtzman, who lived in Cedarhurst.

Frommer is survived by his wife, three children, Jennifer, Ian, Frederic and six grandchildren.

A memorial was held for Frommer on Aug. 5 at the Plaza Jewish Community Chapel in Manhattan. He is interred at Mount Lebanon Cemetery in the Glendale section of Queens.