Ryan Braun, Kevin Youkilis and the Rest of the MLB's All-Time Jewish Team
I'll start off by saying that Adam Sandler has lead us all astray.
Rod Carew is not actually Jewish.
His wife was Jewish, and his kids were raised in the Jewish faith, however Carew never actually did convert. So he will not be included on this list.
Now that we've gotten that out of way...
I had the idea for this article when looking at Sam Fuld's Wikipedia page. It turns out he's Jewish.
This sparked my interest.
So I began to do some more research to see which MLB players are Jewish. I then started to come across a few big names. So I set out to put together the MLB's all-time Jewish team.
And it is as follows...
Starting Lineup: Leading Off, Ian Kinsler, 2B
Ian Kinsler is by no means the most impressive player on this list, but he is the only one that leads off for his team.
Barring injuries (of which he's had many), Kinsler is a perennial 20-homer/20-steal guy.
However, Kinsler is not necessarily your ideal leadoff hitter. This year he is hitting just .251 (four points below league average), although his on-base percentage is a nice .359 (38 points above league average).
But with a career .850 stolen base percentage, he is also not the worst guy to have at the top of the lineup.
Lou Boudreau, SS
Lou Boudreau seems to be the obvious choice for the two-hole. With a career slash line of .295/.380/.415, it is easy to see why "Handsome Lou" belongs near the top of the order.
But that doesn't quite show how great a hitter Boudreau was.
In 1948, "Old Shufflefoot" lead the Indians to the World Series, hitting .355 with a .453 OBP. That same year, he hit 18 home runs and knocked in 106 RBI (both career highs), as well as being voted into his sixth and final All-Star Game and being named MVP.
(Oh, and he was also the Indians manager from 1942 through 1950.)
Ryan Braun, LF
Ryan Braun, or "The Hebrew Hammer" as he is sometimes called, is one the best young hitters in the league.
In his rookie season, Braun won ROY honors while being named an All-Star each year since.
Braun has proven to be a 30+ HR, 100+ RBI guy, to go along with his 15 or so stolen bases a year and a .309 career average. He also sports a .925 career OPS.
Braun is not the best fielder in the league, but his "hammer" speaks for itself.
Hank Greenberg, 1B
Another "Hammer" on the list, "Hamerin' Hank" Greenberg is one of the greatest hitters in Major League history.
Hank Greenberg has lead the league in almost every offensive category at some time in his career. Although never leading in average or OBP, Greenberg's career .313 average and .412 OBP shows that he easily could have.
Just a quick rundown of some of Greenberg's incredible stats:
In 1935, Greenberg lead the league in both home runs and RBI with 36 and 170 respectively. He also hit .328 that year as well as winning MVP honors.
Just two years later, Greenberg hit .337 with 40 home runs and 183 RBI. (The third most RBI hit in a season, ever).
The very next year, Greenberg accrued 146 more RBI and blasted 58 home runs.
Two years after that, 41 home runs, 150 RBI, and another MVP.
Then—just 19 games into the next season—"Hammerin' Hank" began his service, fighting for the United States in WWII. He missed the rest of that season and three and a half more after that.
But as Hank Greenberg would, in his first game back after being discharged, he hammered a home run.
In his next full season (which would prove to be his penultimate), Greenberg lead the league in both homers and RBI with 44 and 127 respectively.
I like my chances if I can pencil "Hammerin' Hank" anywhere into my lineup.
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Kevin Youkilis is a fan favorite of Red Sox Nation. He is a gritty player, that will do whatever the team needs from him.
He doesn't play pretty, but he plays right.
A Gold Glove winner and a three-time All-Star, Youkilis is a career .293 hitter, who can give 15-30 home runs and about 90 RBI any given year.
Al Rosen, DH
Al Rosen is one of those brute strength players whose batting average won't blow you away (career .285), but will hit some big home runs.
For most of his fairly short career, Rosen was a 30 homer, 100 RBI hitter with one huge standout season.
In 1953, Rosen won MVP while hitting .336 and leading the league in home runs and RBI with 43 and 145 respectively, while also leading the league in runs, slugging, OPS, and total bases.
Sid Gordon, RF
In those best years, "Sid the Kid" (a nickname I just made up) was pretty much a 30 and 100 hitter.
He appeared in two All-Star games, each with the Giants.
I'll take a career .283 with definite pop in the seven spot any day of the week.
Brad Ausmus, C
The lightest hitting player in the lineup, Brad Ausmus, was great behind the plate.
Ausmus won three Gold Gloves with the Astros and lead the league in catcher's ERA in both 2005 and 2006. Ausmus also posted a career .994 fielding percentage.
Ausmus showed throughout his career that he knew how to handle a pitching staff, and as will be shown later on, this back end of the rotation needs as much help as Ausmus can give.
He also leads all Jewish major leaguers with 1,971 games played.
Shawn Green, CF
Hardly a nine hitter, Shawn Green will take the double leadoff spot for this team.
At his best, Shawn Green displayed a fantastic combination of power and speed. This is shown by some of his season highs: 49 home runs, 125 RBI, and 35 stolen bases.
With a career .283 average, at the top of his game Green was the full package.
Now, out of Shawn Green's career 1,951 games played, just 78 were played in center field.
However, Shawn Green definitely had some speed and is the only outfielder on this list to win a Gold Glove.
Pitching Staff: Sandy Koufax, SP
Another Jewish kid from Brooklyn, Sandy Koufax (born Sanford Braun) is the ace of all aces.
With three Cy Young Awards and one MVP, Sandy Koufax was brilliant from the bump.
In just 12 seasons, Koufax lead the league in ERA for five straight seasons (the last five of his career), strike outs-four times, complete games-twice, shutouts-three times, and wins-three times.
Over the last six years of his career, Koufax went 129-47 with a 2.19 ERA and 35 shutouts. He was an All-Star each of those six seasons.
Simply a great pitcher.
Ken Holtzman, SP
Ken Holtzman was a huge part of the A's World Series run in the '70s.
In just four seasons with the A's, Holtzman won 77 games and posted a 2.92 ERA.
The most impressive part of Holtzman's statline is his miniscule 2.17 postseason ERA, to go along with his ridiculous 1.67 ERA in the World Series.
Holtzman is the clear choice for the second spot in the rotation.
Steve Stone, SP
Steve Stone was certainly not a great pitcher. However, in 1980, Stone won Cy Young honors with a 25-7 record and a 3.23 ERA.
So we'll just pretend that he could replicate that season.
Dave Roberts, SP
Dave Roberts (not to be confused with this guy) didn't spend his whole career as a starter. But in the eight seasons he did spend as a starter, Roberts won 90 games with 3.60 ERA. Definitely a serviceable fourth starter.
Jason Marquis, SP
Jason Marquis is really not a great pitcher, as his career 4.52 ERA would show.
But as a fifth guy in the rotation, he's not terrible.
Also, as a side note, Marquis seems to tire out as the season goes on. If we look at his season splits throughout his career: in the first half of each of his 12 seasons, Marquis has a record of 67-46 with a 4.29 ERA. But then In the second half of his seasons, he has gone a poor 37-51 with 4.81 ERA.
Again, not so great, but fine at the tail end of the rotation.
Bullpen: Craig Breslow, Closer
It seems as though there has yet to be a Jewish closer in the majors, so Craig Breslow will have to suffice.
Dubbed the "Smartest Man In Baseball", Breslow graduated from Yale in 2002 with a BA in molecular biophysics and biochemistry.
Brains aside, Breslow has a career 2.93 ERA and opposing batters have hit just .220 against him.
Not a great ERA for a closer, but the .220 BAA is pretty darn good.
Scott Radinsky, SU
Scott Radinsky didn't have a very long or great career, but a 3.44 ERA and .253 BAA isn't too bad.
Scott Schoeneweis, 7th Inning
This Scott was not the best pitcher out of the pen in his career. But Schoeneweis did have a couple of good seasons, which saw his ERA below 3.35 in each.
Although having a career 5.01 ERA, Schoeneweis probably won't go down in any history books. (Except for maybe a book of Jewish athletes or two).
Scott Feldman, Longman
The third and final Scott out of the pen, Scott Feldman, is actually a starter. But he will serve as the long reliever for this team.
Not a great pitcher, but his 4.79 career ERA is okay for a mop-up guy.
Bench: Mike Leiberthal
Mike Lieberthal was a pretty good hitter for a catcher, as he hit .274 for his career.
In fact, I almost gave him the start over Ausmus due to his offense. However, with a very thin bullpen and a mediocre back end of the rotation, I figured the staff would need Ausmus to coax them through some jams.
This is not to say Lieberthal couldn't have handled the staff, throughout most years of his career Lieberthal could be found in the top 10 or so for catcher's ERA (Ausmus was usually in the top three or four).
Lieberthal is certainly a more-than-apt backup, and he would take Ausmus' place at least once every five.
Ron Blomberg, DH
Ron "Boomer" Blomberg was the very first DH in Major League history.
In his short career, he hit .293 and had some pop. But Blomberg never played more than 107 games in a season.
Even so, not a bad hitter in a pinch.
Ike Davis, 1B
Isaac Benjamin Davis (or just Ike for short) is a rising talent in the league.
In his rookie year for the Mets, Ike hit 19 home runs. This season (before his injury), Davis was hitting a nice .302 with a .925 OPS.
A very good backup.
Danny Valencia, 3B
Born to a Cuban father and a Jewish mother, Danny Valencia is another up-and-comer in the league.
The Twins third baseman is in somewhat of a sophomore slump, hitting just .236. But in his rookie season, he posted a .311 average.
He may not be a career .311 hitter, but he will most likely end up closer to .311 than .236.
Sam Fuld, CF
"Super" Sam Fuld is quite an exciting player. I will not discuss his stats because that simply does not paint the full picture of Fuld.
For the same reason, I chose to include a video in lieu of a photo, because words can't really show exactly what Fuld brings to Tampa.
The journeyman found his way to the Rays this last offseason and quickly became a fan favorite.
He is admired league wide for his hustle.
This was showcased one night in Boston: Fuld was just a single away from the cycle and in his final at bat, he banged one off the Monster. Instead of holding at first for a single to complete the cycle, Fuld busted it down the line and legged out a double.
Just what you want to see from a backup (or even a starter for that matter).
Gabe Kapler, RF
Gabe Kapler was a backup for most of his career, but he did spend a few years as a starter.
Simply put, don't expect all that much from Kapler and you will be happy with what you see.
Moe Berg, C
The final player on the roster, Moe Berg, was actually a pretty sub-par player. In fifteen seasons, Berg posted a .243 average and hit just six home runs with just 206 total RBI.
The reason I put him on this list isn't because of his play, not at all.
In fact, Moe Berg is on this list because after his time in the majors, he began work as a spy for the United States in WWII.
For the OSS (the CIA's predecessor), Berg gathered tips on Yugoslavian resistance groups, and even getting information on the German nuclear program.
The second (well, first) player on this list to be referred to as "the Smartest Player in Baseball".
Manager: Lou Boudreau
Well, "Handsome Lou" is back.
As I mentioned in his previous slide, Lou Boudreau was in fact a player/manager for the Indians from 1942 through 1950.
After the 1952 season, which he spent as player/manager for the Red Sox, Boudreau retired as a player, but spent six more seasons as a manager.
As a manager (player or not), Boudreau won 728 games and managed one World Series team (the same year he won MVP).
General Manager: Theo Epstein
Here we have our GM, Theo Epstein.
As all GMs have, Epstein has made some good and bad moves, but has proved to be one the better GMs in the league.
Hired in 2002 as the youngest GM in MLB history, Epstein went on to assemble "The Idiots" who broke the curse.
More recently, Epstein traded for Adrian Gonzalez, who will most likely be this year's AL MVP.
Yeah, I'd probably hire him.
President: Gabe Paul
When George Steinbrenner took over the Yankees, Gabe Paul became the team's President and General Manager.
In this case he will only act as the team President.
Under Paul's guidance, the Yankees won their first pennant in 12 years, and their first World Series in 15 years.
I'd bet if Paul teamed up with Theo Epstein, they could pull off some pretty incredible deals.
Owner: Jerry Reinsdorf
Jerry Reinsdorf has owned the White Sox since 1981.
Just two years after he bought the team, the White Sox made the playoffs for the first time since 1959.
Then, in 2005, the White Sox won their first World Series since 1917.
Oh yeah, he also bought the Bulls in 1985, and we all know how that went.
But not all of his moves were great: remember how Michael Jordan played for a White Sox Minor League affiliate during his sabbatical from basketball. Yeah, that was Jerry Reinsdorf's doing.
Barring that last move, Reinsdorf will go down as one of the most successful owners in American sports history.
Well, that's the end of the list.
If there's anyone you think I missed, please feel free to discuss in the comments section.
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