Funny, He Doesn’t Look Jewish!

For years, Jewish boys who dreamed of playing in the big leagues could look only to black-and-white photographs of Hank Greenberg

 

and Sandy Koufax

 

for inspiration. As recently as the mid-1990s, there was barely a smattering of Jewish ballplayers. Nobody even knew that some of the players were actually Jewish, such Ruben Amaro, Jr.

 

and Jose Bautista.

 

Jewish baseball fans have long looked forward to the day when a minyan (10 men, the number allowing Orthodox Jews to conduct a formal prayer service) would make it to the show. This year, such sports-minded Jews have finally gotten what they have been praying for.

 

The number of Jewish ballplayers on big-league rosters has swelled to 10. They are:

 

Brad Ausmus, C    Los Angeles Dodgers

 

player

 

 

Ryan Braun, 3B, OF – Milwaukee Brewers

 

player

 

 

Craig Breslow, P – Minnesota Twins

 

player

 

 

Scott Feldman, P – Texas Rangers

 

player

 

 

John Grabow, P – Pittsburgh Pirates

 

player

 

 

Gabe Kapler, OF, DH – Tampa Bay Rays

 

player

 

 

Ian Kinsler, 2B – Texas Rangers

 

player

 

 

Jason Marquis, P – Colorado Rockies

 

player

 

 

Scott Schoeneweis, P – Arizona Diamondbacks

 

player

 

 

Kevin Youkilis, 1B, 3B – Boston Red Sox

 

player

 

The major-league minyan goes a long way toward destroying the second-most offensive stereotype about Jews in America: that we suck at sports. Jewish athletes have been disproving that myth for some time.

 

Dolph Schayes was a 12-time NBA All-Star, chosen as one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time and is in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

                                  

Quarterback Jay Fiedler was Dan Marino’s successor in Miami. Lennie Friedman, Adam Goldberg, and Igor Olshansky are all NFL linemen. Swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg won three Olympic gold medals for the United States in Sydney. Of course, you can’t forget 9-time Olympic Gold Medal swimmer Mark Spitz. 

                                                                              

Oksana Baiul is an Olympic and World Champion figure skater. And everybody knows about gymnast Kerri Strug.

 

Nevertheless, it’s baseball where the box score seems most dramatic. Three of the Jewish ballplayers are current all-stars: Ryan Braun, Ian Kinsler and Kevin Youkilis. Brad Ausmus is a 3-time Gold Glove winner and a former All-Star. In addition, Jason Marquis won the Silver Slugger Award for pitchers.

                                     

What is unquestionable is, from Hank Greenberg to Shawn Green, baseball has long held a soft spot in Jewish hearts. A Jew by the name of Lipman Pike was the first professional baseball player, when in 1866 he accepted $20 a week from the Philadelphia Athletics to play third base.

 

Barney Dreyfus, who owned the Pittsburgh Pirates, is credited with founding the World Series.

 

And over the years, players from Billy Nash to Jimmy Reese to Larry Sherry to Most Valuable Player Al Rosen to Cy Young Award winner Steve Stone have made their mark on the game.

 

Greenberg’s decision not to play in a crucial game that fell on Yom Kippur in 1934 is part of the folklore of American Jewry, along with the similar refusal of pitching legend Sandy Koufax to pitch the first game of the 1965 World Series that also occurred on the Day of Atonement.

 

 

The New York-based Jewish Sports Review publication puts the number of Jews who have suited up for a major-league club since professional ball was first played in 1869 at more than 130.

 

Though most of us know the two Hall-of-Famers (Koufax and Greenberg), there were many fine Jewish players down through the years, dating back to the earliest days of organized baseball. Jewish big leaguers include a batting average leader (Buddy Myer of the Washington Senators in 1935),

 

 

home-run king and MVP (Al Rosen of the Cleveland Indians in 1950 and 1951),

 

 

earned-run average leader (Saul Rogovin of the Chicago White Sox in 1951)

 

 

and a Cy Young Award winner (Steve Stone of the Baltimore Orioles in 1980).

 

 

Below, I present a list of know Jewish Major League ballplayers.  They may be others and conversely there are some players whose name sounds Jewish, like Geoff Blum, but they are not Members of the Tribe.

Cal Abrams

 

OF

1949-56

Bklyn, Cincy, Pitt, Balt, Chi-AL

Lloyd Allen

 

P

1969-75

California, Texas, Chicago-AL

Ruben Amaro, Jr

 

OF

1991-98

Calif, Phila, Cleve, Phila.

Morrie Arnovich

 

OF

1936-41, 1946

Philadelphia-NL, Cincinnati, New York-NL

Jake Atz

 

IF

1902-09

Washington, Chicago-AL

Brad Ausmus

 

C

1993-present

SD, Detroit, Houston, Detroit, Houston

Jesse Baker (Michael Silverman)

 

SS

1919

Washington

Brian Bark

 

P

1995

Boston

Ross Baumgarten

 

P

1978-82

Chicago-AL, Pittsburgh

Jose Bautista

 

P

1988-97

Baltimore, Chicago-NL, San Francisco, Detroit, St. Louis

Joe Bennett (Rosenblum)

 

3B

1923

Philadelphia-NL

Moe Berg

 

C

1923, 1926-39

Bklyn, Chi-AL, Cleve, Wash, Bost-AL

Nathan Berkenstock

 

OF

1871

Philadelphia-NL

Bob Berman

 

C

1918

Washington

Cy Block

 

3B/2B

1942, 1945-46

Chicago-NL

Ron Blomberg

 

DH/1B/OF

1969, 1971-76

New York AL, Chicago-AL

Sammy Bohne (Cohen)

 

2B/SS/3B

1916, 1921-26

St. Lou-NL, Cincy, Bklyn.

Henry Bostick (Lifschitz)

 

3B

1915

Philadelphia-AL

Lou Boudreau

 

SS/3B/2B/C

1938-52

Cleveland, Boston

Ryan Braun

 

3B, OF

2007-Present

Milwaukee

Craig Breslow

 

P

2005-06, 08

San Diego, Boston

Lou Brower

 

SS

1931

Detroit

Conrad Cardinal

 

P

1963

Houston

Frank Charles

 

C

2000

Houston

Harry Chozen

 

C

1937

Cincinnati

Tony Cogan

 

P

2001

Kansas City

Alta Cohen

 

OF

1931-33

Brooklyn, Philadelphia-NL

Andy Cohen

 

2B

1926-29

New York-NL

Hy Cohen

 

P

1955

Chicago-NL

Syd Cohen

 

P

1934, 1936-37

Washington

Richard Conger

 

P

1940-43

Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia-NL

Phil Cooney (Cohen)

 

3B

1905

New York-AL

Ed Corey (Cohen)

 

P

1918

Chicago-AL

Bill Cristall

 

P

1901

Cleveland

Harry Danning

 

C

1933-42

New York-NL

Ike Danning

 

C

1928

St. Louis

Bob Davis

 

P

1958-62

Kansas City

Harry Eisenstat

 

P

1935-42

Brooklyn, Detroit, Cleveland

Mike Epstein

 

1B

1966-74

Baltimore, Washington, Oakland, California

Reuben Ewing (Cohen)

 

SS

1921

St. Louis-NL

Al Federoff

 

2B

1951-52

Detroit

Eddie Feinberg

 

SS/2B/OF

1938-39

Philadelphia-NL

Harry Feldman

 

P

1941-46

New York-NL

Scott Feldman

 

P

2005-present

Texas

Samuel Fishburn

 

SS/1B/2B

 

Reading-IL, St. Louis

Leo Fishel

 

P

1899

New York-NL

Matt Ford

 

P

2003

Milwaukee

Happy Foreman

 

P

1924, 1926

Chicago-AL, Boston-AL

Micah Franklin

 

OF

1997

St. Louis

Murray Franklin

 

SS/2B

1941-42

Detroit

Sam Fuld

 

OF

2007

Chicago

Milt Galatzer

 

OF

1933-36, 1939

Cleveland, Cincinnati

Mark Gilbert

 

OF

1985

Chicago-AL

Joe Ginsberg

 

C

1948, 1950-54, 1956-62

Det, Cleve, Balt, Chi-AL, Bos-AL, NY-NL

Keith Glauber

 

P

1998

Cincinnati

Jonah Goldman

 

SS/3B

1928, 1930-31

Cleveland

Izzy Goldstein

 

P

1932

Detroit

Jake Goodman

 

1B

1878, 1882

Milwaukee-NL, Pittsburgh-AA

Greg Goossen

 

1B/C

1965-70

NY-NL, Seattle, Milw-AL, Wash.

Sid Gordon

 

OF/3B

1941-43,1946-55

NY-NL, Boston-NL, Milw-NL, Pitt.

John Grabow

 

P

2003-Present

Pittsburgh

Herb Gorman

 

OF

1952

St. Louis-NL

Shawn Green

 

OF, 1B

1993-present

Toronto, Los Angeles, Arizona, New York-NL

Adam Greenberg

 

OF

2005

Chicago

Hank Greenberg

 

1B/OF

1930,1933-41, 1945-47

Detroit, Pittsburgh

Eric Helfand

 

C

1993-95

Oakland

Steve Hertz

 

3B

1964

Houston

Jason Hirsh

 

P

2006-present

Texas, Colorado

Ken Holtzman

 

P

1965-79

Chicago-NL, Oakland, Baltimore, New York-AL

Brian Horwitz

 

OF

2008

SF

Bill Hurst

 

P

1996

FL

Skip Jutze

 

C

1972-77

St. Louis, Houston, Seattle

Harry Kane (Cohen)

 

P

1902-03, 1905-06

St. Louis, Detroit, Philadelphia

Gabe Kapler

 

OF

1998-2006

Texas, Boston, Milw-AL

Herb Karpel

 

P

1946

New York-AL

Bob Katz

 

P

1944

Cincinnati

Ian Kinsler

 

2B

2006-Present

Texas

Alan Koch

 

P

1963-64

Detroit, Washington

Brian Kowitz

 

OF

1995

Atlanta

Sandy Koufax

 

P

1955-66

Brooklyn, Los Angeles-NL

Barry Latman

 

P

1957-67

Chi-AL, Cleve, LA-AL, Calif, Hou.

Jim Levey

 

SS

1930-33

St. Louis-AL

Alan Levine

 

P

1996, 1998-2005

Chicago-AL, Texas, Anaheim, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Detroit

Jesse Levis

 

C

1992-99

Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Milwaukee, Cleveland

Mike Lieberthal

 

C

1994-2007

Philadelphia, Los Angeles-NL

Lou Limmer

 

1B

1951, 1954

Philadelphia-AL

Andrew Lorraine

 

P

1994-95, 1997-2000, 2002

Phila-NL, Oakland, Seattle, Chi-NL, Cleve, Mil.

Elliott Maddox

 

OF/2B

1970-80

Det, Wash, Tex, NY-AL, Balt, NY-NL

Cy Malis

 

P

1934

Philadelphia-NL

Moxie Manuel

 

P

1905, 1908

Washington, Chicago-AL

Duke Markell (Harry Makowsky)

 

P

1951

St. Louis-AL

Jason Marquis

 

P

2000-present

Atlanta, St Louis, Chicago-NL

Ed Mayer

 

P

1957-58

Chicago-NL

Erskine Mayer

 

P

1912-19

Philadelphia-NL, Chicago-AL

Sam Mayer

 

OF/P

1915

Washington

Ed Mensor

 

P

1912-1914

Pittsburgh

Mike Milchin

 

P

1996

Minnesota, Baltimore, LA-NL

Norm Miller

 

OF

1965-74

Houston, Atlanta

Buddy Myer

 

2B/SS/3B

1925-41

Washington, Boston-AL

Sam Nahem

 

P

1938, 1941-42, 1948

Brooklyn, St. Louis-NL, Philadelphia-NL

David Newhan

 

2B, 3B

1999

San Diego, Philadelphia, Baltimore

Jeff Newman

 

C

1976-84

Oakland, Boston

Barney Pelty

 

P

1903-12

St. Louis-AL, Washington

Jacob Pike

 

OF

1877

Hartford-NL

Lipman Pike

 

OF/2B

1871-78, 1881, 1887

Troy-NA, Balt-NA, Hartford-NA, St. Louis-NA, St. Louis-NL, Cincy-NL, Providence-NL,, Worcester-NL, NY-AA

Jake Pitler

 

2B

1917-18

Pittsburgh

Scott Radinsky

 

P

1990-93, 1995-2001

Chi-AL, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Cleveland.

Steve Ratzer

 

P

1980-81

Montreal

Jimmy Reese (Solomon)

 

2B

1930-32

New York-AL, St. Louis

Al Richter

 

SS

1951, 1953

Boston-AL

Dave Roberts

 

P

1969-81

SD, Hous, Det, Chi-NL, SF, Pitt, Seattle, NY-NL

Saul Rogovin

 

P

1949-53, 1955-57

Det, Chi-AL, Balt, Phila-NL

Al Rosen

 

3B

1947-56

Cleveland

Goody Rosen

 

OF

1937-39,1944-46

Brooklyn, New York-NL

Harry Rosenberg

 

OF

1930

New York-NL

Lou Rosenberg

 

2B

1923

Chicago-AL

Steve Rosenberg

 

P

1988-91

Chicago-AL, San Diego

Max Rosenfeld

 

OF

1931-33

Brooklyn

Sy Rosenthal

 

OF

1925-26

Boston-AL

Wayne Rosenthal

 

P

1991-92

Texas

Marv Rotblatt

 

P

1948, 1950-51

Chicago-AL

Mickey Rutner

 

3B

1947

Philadelphia-AL

Mike Saipe

 

P

1998

Colorado

Roger Samuels

 

P

1988-89

San Francisco, Pittsburgh

Ike Samuls

 

3B/SS

1895

St. Louis-NL

Moe Savransky

 

P

1954

Cincinnati

Al Schacht

 

P

1919-21

Washington

Sid Schacht

 

P

1950-51

St. Louis-AL, Boston-NL

Hal Schacker

 

P

1945

Boston-NL

Heinie Scheer

 

2B/3B

1922-23

Philadelphia-AL

Richie Scheinblum

 

OF

1965, 1967-74

Cleve, Wash, KC, Cincy, Calif, StL-NL

Mike Schemer

 

1B

1945-46

New York-NL

Scott Schoeneweis

 

P

1999-present

Anaheim, Chicago-AL, NY-NL

Art Shamsky

 

OF/1B

1965-72

Cincinnati, New York-NL, Chicago-NL, Oakland

Dick Sharon

 

OF

1973-75

Detroit, San Diego

Larry Sherry

 

P

1958-68

Los Angeles-NL, Detroit, Houston, California

Norm Sherry

 

C

1959-63

Los Angeles-NL, New York-NL

Harry Shuman

 

P

1942-44

Pittsburgh, Philadelphia-NL

Al Silvera

 

OF

1955-56

Cincinnati

Fred Sington

 

OF

1934-39

Washington, Brooklyn (converted to Christianity following his playing days)

Moses Solomon

 

OF

1923

New York-NL

Bill Starr

 

C

1935-36

Washington

Jeff Stember

 

P

1980

San Francisco

Adam Stern

 

OF

2005-07

Boston, Baltimore

Steve Stone

 

P

1971-81

San Francisco, Chicago-AL, Chicago-NL, Baltimore

Bud Swartz

 

P

1947

St. Louis-AL

Don Taussig

 

OF

1958, 1961-62

San Francisco, St. Louis-NL, Houston

Bob Tufts

 

P

1981-82

San Francisco, Kansas City

Eddie Turchin

 

3B/SS

1943

Cleveland

Steve Wapnick

 

P

1990-91

Detroit, Chicago-AL

Justin Wayne

 

P

2002-2004

Florida

Lefty Weinert 

 

P

1919-1924, 1927-1928, 1931

Phila-NL, Chicago-NL, New York-AL

Phil Weintraub

 

1B/OF

1933-35, 1937-38, 1944-45

NY-NL, Cincy, Phila-NL

Josh Whitesell

 

1B

2008

Arizona

Ed Wineapple

 

P

1929

Washington

Steve Yeager

 

C

1972-86

Los Angeles-NL, Seattle

Larry Yellen

 

P

1963-64

Houston

Kevin Youkilis

 

3B, 1B

2004-present

Boston

Guy Zinn

 

OF

1911-12, 1914-15

New York-AL, Boston-NL, Baltimore-FL

Edward Zosky

 

SS/3B

1991-92, 1995, 1999

Toronto, Florida, Milwaukee

 

I hope to provide daily updates regarding the performances of the ten Jewish ballplayers that I plan to call the “Daily Minyan.” I will provide biographical info on many past ballplayers, especially those of significance.

I will also provide you with my list of the 18 greatest Jewish ballplayers of all time. If you’re wondering why this is a top 18 list, the number “18,” in Hebrew numerology, stands for the word “Chai,” meaning “life.” It’s also a symbol for good luck — not that any of these guys need it.

 

 

 

 

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14 comments

  1. Jane Heller

    Ken, you did a great job! Very informative (Ruben Amaro – who knew?) and entertaining (love the pix of the old players). Was Art Shamsky, former Mets player, Jewish? Can’t remember if he was on the list. Anyhow, very enjoyable reading.

    http://janeheller.mblogs.com

  2. greg1969

    Thanks, Ken! Great stuff, good info! I knew some of them, from Youk and Shawn Green, along with Greenberg and Koufax, (and some I had a hunch, but didn’t know). Thanks for sharing.

  3. jewsonfirst and http://brooksrobinsonrules.mlblogs.com/

    Jane, thanks for the compliment!!! Yes, of course Art Shamsky was Jewish. He’s on the list. Jordan and I saw your book on the shelf at Books-A-Million today, by the way. We also noticed that books about Ty Cobb and Ted Williams were next to each other one shelf above!

    Attic , Greg- thanks for the compliments!

    Mets – I knew about Shawn Green and Schoeneweis. Who was the third?

    Melissa – I know about Ryan Braun. Who is the other one?

    Ken

  4. juliasrants

    Good job Ken. I don’t even know what religion the players are! I guess to me it was never an important thing to know. I like to look at people for what they can accomplish and not for what their backgrounds are. Me personally – I would never like a person more or less because of their religion or skin color or race. I guess I’m a equal opportunity fan! lol!

    Julia
    http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

  5. jewsonfirst and http://brooksrobinsonrules.mlblogs.com/

    By the way, I totally missed the fact that Jose Bautista is with the Blue Jays this year, so that makes eleven!!

    Welcome to Twins Limey (great name) and Ashley Marshall!

    Daily Minyan will be coming tomorrow.

    Ken

  6. rchrdodea@yahoo.com

    Geoff Blum sounds very much like a Swedish or North German name to me. Blum (Bloom, Bluhm, Blohm) can be Jewish as well, but I don’t think Geoff is.

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