Sam Bercovich 1

Samuel ("Sam") Bercovich (March 3, 1916 – May 27, 2014) was a successful businessman and owner of Bercovich Furniture in Oakland, California. Following the tradition begun with his father, Edward Bercovich, Sam sponsored local sports teams for thousands of children and teens, from 1929 to 1992.

Family

Sam Bercovich was born March 3, 1916 in Oakland to Edward Lepold Bercovich and Jennie (Friedman) Bercovich. The Bercovichs had immigrated from the Czech Republic and Slovakia (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) in the early 1900s, where Sam's oldest siblings were born. In 1918, the family lived at 407 Alice Street; in 1920, the family lived at 726 - 8th Street; in 1930, they lived at 2029 - 7th Avenue.

Sam married Ellen (Belzer) Bercovich in 1942, and they had three sons, Ed, Clifford, and Bruce.

Sports Humanitarian

Bercovich with Curt Flood, July 26, 1955
Collection of Oakland Museum of California, gift of ANG Newspapers

Bercovich continued the tradition his father had begun of sponsoring local sports teams for children and teens. At age 5, Bercovich had seen the KKK marching through the streets of Oakland, something he never forgot. 1

  • Bercovich had hundreds of players go on to play college and professional baseball, including many Major Leaguers.
  • Former Bercovich players include Major Leaguers such as Willie Stargell, Kevin Maas, Rickey Henderson, Vada Pinson, Curt Flood, Dave Stewart, Randy Johnson, Joe Morgan, Tommy Harper, Frank Robinson, Don Wakamatsu and more!
  • Many players cite their time playing for Bercovich under legendary managers George Powles, Bill Cox and Ray Luce, as the highlight of their whole careers.
  • Playing for Bercovich meant you were initiated into a fraternity-like team and you were spending a magical summer with other highly motivated and talented baseball players from all over the Bay Area.

He was in contact with Curt Flood during Flood's famous lawsuit with major league baseball. Bercovich said: "he called me during the trial, and we talked a lot. He said all he really wanted was for the league to modify the rules. He was a reasonable guy." 1

Bercovich was also a big fan of the Oakland Raiders and traveled with the team for 40 years.

For his long-time support of youth sports, Bercovich was inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Northern California in 2006. 2

Links and References

  1. In the Mix: Sports Humanitarian: Sam Bercovich Oakland Magazine March, 2007

  2. Sam Bercovich - Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Northern California