Hall of Fame Inductee – Reunion 2007
When Esau Mishkin arrived at Drew, he couldn’t have guessed that he would still be known, seven decades later, for his prowess as a baseball catcher.
Not that Esau was a stranger to baseball, but his home in rural Mt. Freedom, New Jersey, was too far from Dover High School to allow him to join the school team. He had developed a “good country-boy arm,” though, so he tried out for pitcher at Drew. But what Drew’s now-legendary baseball coach, Sherman Plato (Doc) Young, needed was a catcher. The position was new to Esau, but he succeeded brilliantly as both a catcher and a hitter. His 1938 hitting streak (with a .364 batting average) was celebrated in the Acorn by John Cunningham C’38. He was an important part of a four-year stretch of winning seasons, when Drew went 10-2 in 1936, 10-3 in 1937, 7-5 in 1938, and 11-4 in 1939.
Esau’s talents did not go unnoticed. At College Day in February 1940, he was named by a committee (Doc Young, coach Harry Simester, and John Cunningham) to the Brothers College All-Star Baseball Team, “consisting of the outstanding player for each position, during the first decade of Brothers College athletic history.” Time did not diminish his reputation as a player: 14 years later, the retiring Doc Young named Esau to his “dream team” of outstanding players from all his coaching years. He still ranks among Drew’s memorable athletes.
Although he cites Doc Young as a major influence, Esau was also on the fencing team and was associate editor of both The Acorn and Oak Leaves. After emerging from Drew with a major in French, he entered Brooklyn Law School, then took a leave before his final year to serve in the Navy in World War II. He spent five years as a flight instructor and naval aviation squadron leader, returning to his studies in Brooklyn at the end of the war.
Sixty years after his law school graduation in 1946, Esau is still an active civil trial lawyer. He is a member of the New York Bar and the Florida Bar, has been associate editor of American Trial Lawyer, and has been active in the New York State and New York County lawyers’ associations, the Metropolitan Trial Lawyers’ Association, and the Trial Lawyers Sections of the Nassau and Suffolk County and Florida Bar Associations. His practice has included railroad, maritime, and aviation negligence law and products liability law.
Esau and his wife, Elaine, a retired psychiatric social worker and reading coordinator, live in Longboat Key, Florida after many years on Long Island. They have two sons, Eric and Daniel, and three grandchildren. Esau still follows baseball and has a special fondness for the New York Mets.