Harold Charnofsky, 71; Longtime Sociology Professor

Times Staff Writer

Harold “Hal” Charnofsky, a founder of the sociology department at Cal State Dominguez Hills who had been an All-American baseball player at USC, has died. He was 71.

Charnofsky died Dec. 21 of pancreatic cancer at his home in Manhattan Beach.

Born in Trenton, N.J., Charnofsky came to Los Angeles with his family when he was a youngster. He played baseball at Lincoln High School and got a scholarship to USC. A shortstop, he was half of the Trojans’ formidable double-play combination, which included his twin brother Stanley, a second baseman. Harold was chosen to the All-American team in 1952.

Charnofsky was signed to a professional contract by the New York Yankees.


He played for several clubs in their minor league system, including Binghamton, N.Y., where he and his brother formed the double-play combination; Modesto, and Greensboro, N.C. He served as player-manager at Modesto and Greensboro and was voted manager of the year in 1959 at Modesto.

But while playing professional baseball, he continued his academic career, earning a master’s degree in secondary education at USC in 1957.

From 1961-66, he was an assistant baseball coach for Rod Dedeaux at USC, including the 1963 NCAA championship team.

After completing his coursework for a PhD in 1966, Charnofsky joined the faculty at Cal State Dominguez Hills, where he was one of the founders of the sociology department. He taught at Dominguez Hills from 1966 until this year.


He earned his PhD at USC in 1969, writing a dissertation entitled, “The Major League Baseball Player: a Sociological Study.”

The study, part of which Charnofsky presented to a meeting of the American Sociological Assn. in 1967, noted that the notion of baseball as a model of democracy, especially where race relations are concerned, was a myth.

In his academic career at Dominguez Hills, Charnofsky coordinated the master’s degree program in marriage, family and child counseling from 1980-2002.

He also received the school’s outstanding teacher award in 1990 and the outstanding professor award from the Cal State University Foundation in 1992.


Survivors include his wife, Michele Linden-Charnofsky; sons Eric and Michael; a daughter Tessa; his brother Stanley; sisters Beatrice Perlberg, Charlotte Goldberg and Leonore Arvidson; stepson Scott Linden; stepdaughters Stephanie Landon and Deborah Linden; a grandson, two step-granddaughters and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family suggests that donations in his name be made to the marriage and family therapy masters degree program at Cal State Dominguez Hills or the TreePeople or the Carson Child Guidance Program.

A memorial service will be held today at 3 p.m. at Carson Community Center, 801 Carson St. in Carson.

Another memorial service will be held at the Student Union Building at Cal State Dominguez Hills at 1 p.m. on Feb. 9.