A feared left-handed slugger, Mike was a legitimate home run threat in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Although he didn’t hit for average, Mike nonetheless slugged 1:30 homers in 907 games. Mike hit four homers in consecutive at-bats (1971); batted in eight runs in a single game (1970); and set American League record for most putouts by a first baseman in a nine-inning game, with 32 (1967).
Mike, who won a gold medal playing for the USA’s first Olympic baseball team in 1964, played in the ’72 World Series for The Oakland A’s. Hall of Fame, Ted Williams, Epstein’s manager for three years with The Washington Senators, found it amazing that Epstein could hit so well with such poor vision, as his eyesight was never better than 20/35.
Mike played baseball at the University of California, Berkeley, and as a junior, he hit .375 and was offered a contract by the Dodgers. Mike’s dad insisted he finish college, and Mike was an All-American in his senior year.
Mike began his major league career in 1965 with the Baltimore Orioles, and he was dubbed “super Jew” by a rival manager in the California League after leading the league in batting and home runs that year.
Mike had his best statistical year in 1969, when he hit .278, hit 30 homers, had a .548 slugging percentage, and a .412 on-base percentage.
Mike was traded to the Oakland A’s in 1971. In 1972, the A’s went on to win the world series, and among Mike’s teammates, were three Jewish players – Ken Holtman, Art Shamsky,and Joe Horlen.