Hal Saltzman

From BR Bullpen

Harold Harry Saltzman

BR minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Hal Saltzman was the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1943 through 1945 and then returned to college. He broke into pro ball in 1947, pitching in four games for the Seattle Rainiers. He spent most of the 1948 season in Class B, posting unimpressive marks of 10-14, 4.93. He tied for 10th in the Western International League in losses. Near the end of the season, his hometown team, the Portland Beavers, called him up because they were short of pitching. He was 1-0 in 8 games for Portland.

Saltzman went to camp with the Beavers in 1949 but was viewed largely as a batting-practice pitcher. Instead, however, he blossomed under the tutelage of veteran Tommy Bridges. Saltzman won 23 games, lost 13, and had an ERA of 3.20. He tied Pinky Woods and Guy Fletcher for the 1949 PCL win lead, made the top 10 in ERA, tied Willie Ramsdell for 6th in complete games (22) and tied Woods, Ken Holcombe and Frank Nelson for 5th in shutouts (4). That December, the Cleveland Indians gave up five players -- Hal Peck, Luis Marquez, Steve Mesner, Red Adams, and one to be named later -- plus $30,000 in cash to obtain the rights to Saltzman.

Although the Jewish hurler was on the Opening Day roster for Cleveland in 1950, he never got into a game for the Indians. Sore back muscles hampered Saltzman during spring training, and Cleveland optioned him to Triple-A San Diego on April 20. With his back still bothersome, he was 11-10, 4.93 with the Padres. It was his last regular-season action in pro baseball. He finished his pro career 44-37 with a 4.72 ERA, almost all of it in AAA.

Saltzman was in spring training with the Indians in 1951 but was then recalled to service with the Marines (the Korean War was in progress). He attended officers' school in Quantico, Virginia. He served 14 1/2 months in the Marines, including seven in Korea. He then resumed his job as lumber buyer for the Oregon-Pacific Lumber Company.

Saltzman went on to found American International Forest Products. He served three terms as the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland's president; his tenure included Israel's Six-Day War in 1967. He was active in many charitable endeavors.


  • Stories from Jewish Portland, by Polina Olsen