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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Jews and the 2017 World Series

Some off-the-cuff baseball history.

The 2017 World Series features Jewish players on both teams--Alex Bregman for the Astros and Joc Pederson for the Dodgers. According to Bob Wechsler, author of The Jewish Baseball Card Book, this is the first two-Jew Series since 2004 (Gabe Kapler for the Red Sox and Jason Marquis for the Cardinals); the second since 1959 (when Sandy Koufax played for the Dodgers); and the fifth in history (the other two involved Hank Greenberg in 1945 and 1940).

In Game 2 this evening, Bregman is the Astros regular third baseman, while Pederson will start in left for the Dodgers. This is, as far as I can tell, the first time that both teams have started a Jewish player in a World Series game. Kapler did not start against Marquis in Game 4 in 2004, nor did the Jewish players playing against Koufax and Greenberg.

Bregman homered last night for the Astros' only run. I am trying to figure out who was the last Jewish player to homer in a Series. Greenberg hit 2 in 1945. I cannot find any homers since then. Who am I missing and when?

[Update: Naturally, we need a Halachic ruling on the last point: Steve Yeager, the Dodgers catcher in the '70s and early '80s, hit 2 homers in the '77 Series and 2 in the '81 Series (in which he won MVP), but converted to Judaism only after he retired. So he is Jewish, but was not when he hit those 4 homers. Do these count as World Series homers by a Jewish player?]

[Further Update: Pederson homered for the Dodgers’ first run of Game 2, making this the first Series with home runs by multiple Jewish players.]

[One More Update: According to Ron Kaplan, the only Jewish player to homer in the Series between Greenberg in 1945 and Bregman and Pederson this year (if you do not count Yeager) was Ken Holtzman, a pitcher for the A's, who homered in Game 2 of the '74 Series (in researching this by going through a list of Jewish players and their career stats, I did not think to look at any pitchers).]

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 25, 2017 at 05:11 PM in Howard Wasserman, Sports | Permalink



Read a news report about the Travel Ban.


President Donald Trump's second executive order on immigration bars citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

Iran is called a Muslim-majority country. If Iran is, so is Saudi Arabia. Or are you telling me that Iran is a open secular democracy, while Saudi Arabia is a theocracy?

Posted by: Eeyore II | Oct 27, 2017 10:01:12 PM

Saudi Arabia is officially an Islamic State; Israel is officially a Jewish State. Israel hes non-Jewish citizens; i am not sure whether Saudi Arabia has any non-Muslim citizens, although there are non-Muslim temporary residents, particularly from lands outside the Middle East. Citizens of Israel are properly known in that capacity as Israelis, not as Jews (,or Jewish persons).
There were times and places where the term “Jew” was considered a term of opprobrium, and saying “ Jewish person” was considered more polite. I think that time has passed in most of the United States, although it may hang on as a residual in some places. Today, we have many proud Jews, including those Jews accomplished in professional sports.
Perhaps it is a matter of personal preference, but if we are going to count accomplihed persons of Jewish faith or Jewish heritage, I would start with lists of Nobel Prize winners in the sciences and economics, not with the rosters of sports teams. Or is that proclivity itself “too Jewish” for a largely assimilated community?

Posted by: Alan Jay Weisbard | Oct 27, 2017 5:33:13 PM

Some sources/discussion here: https://twitter.com/ForecasterEnten/status/923365970885746688

Posted by: anonymous | Oct 26, 2017 12:46:11 PM


And just like Saudi Arabia is a Muslim-majority country, not a Muslim country (see travel ban cases); so Israel is a Jewish-majority country, not a Jewish country. The people are religious, not the country; as you say, we're Jewish people.

Posted by: Moses Mayonaise | Oct 26, 2017 5:16:31 AM

Remember, we're called "Jewish people."

Posted by: Asher Steinberg | Oct 26, 2017 2:24:18 AM

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