The All-Time Jewish Baseball Team

Adam ReiterCorrespondent IIIAugust 18, 2011

The All-Time Jewish Baseball Team

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    Hall of Famers, Gold Glove Winners, Silver Sluggers, Cy Young Award Winners, Most Valuable Player Award Winners, World Series Champions. What group of men have won all of them? The 24 men that comprise this All-Time Jewish Baseball Team.

    Here is the greatest Jewish Major League Baseball team imaginable: 

Starting Pitcher Number 1: Sandy Koufax

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    The most dominant pitcher of his day, Sandy Koufax is the ace of this team.

    Over 12 seasons with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, Koufax was 165-87 with a 2.76 ERA, 2,396 strikeouts in 2,324 innings, and 40 shut-outs. Between 1963 and 1966, Koufax had perhaps the greatest 4 year stretch of any player, pitcher or hitter, in baseball history. He was 97-27 with an ERA of 1.86, 1,228 strikeouts in 1,192 2/3 innings pitched, with 31 shut-outs. Over that stretch, he led the Dodgers to two World Championships, won 3 Cy Young Awards, threw 3 no-hitters and 1 Perfect Game, won an MVP Award, and finished runner-up twice.

    Had arm trouble not plagued the end of his career, Koufax could have been the greatest pitcher of all-time.

Starting Pitcher Number 2: Ken Holtzman

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    Coming in as the Number two starter is 5-time World Champion Ken Holtzman.

    Over his 15 year MLB career, Holtzman won 174 games, posted a 3.49 ERA, and threw 2 no- hitters.

    Holtzman was a key member of the Oakland A's three consecutive World Championships from 1972-74, winning 59 games while posting a 2.85 ERA, and making both of his career All-Star teams.

Starting Pitcher Number 3: Steve Stone

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    The last Jew to win a Cy Young Award is the 3rd starter.

    In 12 seasons, Stone won 107 games with a 3.97 ERA. In five full seasons as a full-time starter, Stone won 75 games, posting a 4.35 ERA. 

    In 1980, his second to last big league season, Stone went 25-7 with a 3.23 ERA, winning the American League Cy Young Award.

Starting Pitcher Number 4: Jason Marquis

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    The only active pitcher on the team sets the pitching rotation at the fourth spot.

    In 11 and a half seasons, Marquis has 104 wins with a 4.55 ERA pitching for 6 different teams. 

Relief Pitcher Number 1: Joe Horlen

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    For the two people in the world who know who Joe Horlen is, they will say he was a starter. Well, he did start and finish his career as a reliever, so I'm calling him one.

    In 12 big league seasons, Horlen went 116-117 despite a 3.11 ERA. In 1967, Horlen finished second in Cy Young voting and fourth in MVP voting after going 19-7 with a 2.06 ERA, 13 complete games, 6 shutouts, and a .953 WHIP. 

Relief Pitcher Number 2: Barney Pelty

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    One of the elder members of this list, Barney Pelty checks in as the number two from the bullpen.

    Over his 10 year career, Pelty was a disappointing 92-117, despite a 2.63 ERA, posting a career average WHIP of 1.150.

    His best season was 1906, with the St. Louis Browns, when he went 16-11 with a 1.59 ERA and a WHIP of .951.

Relief Pitcher Number 3: Erskine Mayer

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    Erskine Mayer comes in as the third reliever on this team.

    In eight big league seasons, all of them as a part-time starter and part-time reliever, Mayer went 91-70 with a 2.96 ERA and a WHIP of 1.233.

    In 1915, Mayer posted his second straight 21 win season for the National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies.

Relief Pitcher Number 4: Craig Breslow

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    Representing New Haven, CT, Craig Breslow checks in as the number four reliever and makes the bullpen even deeper.

    In six big league seasons with five different teams, Breslow is 12-17 with a 3.09 ERA  and a WHIP of 1.254. 

    His best season was 2008 when, while pitching for the Twins, where he went 0-2, but finished the season with a 1.63 ERA and a WHIP of .983.

Relief Pitcher Number 5: Scott Feldman

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    The pride of Kailua, Hawaii, Scott Feldman is the fifth relief pitcher.

    In seven seasons, all with the Texas Rangers, four of them as a reliever, Feldman is 31-32 with a 4.77 ERA. That ERA isn't a fair representation of Feldman, as his three years as a starter yielded an average ERA of 6.15. 

Relief Pitcher Number 6: John Grabow

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    Making the final cut, despite playing his entire career for the Pirates and the Cubs, John Grabow takes the final reliever spot.

    In nine seasons, Grabow is 24-18 with a  4.32 ERA and a less-than-stellar WHIP of 1.480. 

    Grabow's best season was 2008 when he posted a 6-3 record with a 2.84 ERA and a WHIP of 1.276 while pitching for the Pirates.

Catcher: Mike Lieberthal

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    The 155 lb, third overall pick of the 1990 MLB Draft, Mike Lieberthal is the starting catcher of this team.

    In 1,212 career games, Lieberthal hit .274 with 150 home runs and 610 RBI's. He also worked a .783 OPS, made two All-Star teams and won a Gold Glove Award.

1st Baseman: Hank Greenberg

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    One of the finest power hitters, if not the finest power hitter of his day, Hank Greenberg is the first baseman.

    In 1,394 career games, even with missing the better part of five seasons serving in World War II, Greenberg hit .313 with 331 home runs and 1,276 RBI's. He posted a career 1.107 OPS, had more walks than strikeouts (852 to 844), and finished in the top three of MVP voting four times, winning the award twice—in 1935 and 1940. 

    His 58 home runs in 1938 were the second most hits in a season at the time, and had opposing pitchers not refused to pitch to him for being Jewish, he may have broken Babe Ruth's single-season home run record.

2nd Baseman: Ian Kinsler

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    In one of the closest battles yet, Ian Kinsler edges out Buddy Myer for the starting second baseman nod.

    In six seasons with the Rangers, Kinsler has averaged 24 homers and 82 RBI's while hitting .275 with an OPS of .818. 

    A two-time All-Star and member of the 30-30 club, Kinsler is at the top of the list for best hitting second basemen in the league.

3rd Baseman: Al Rosen

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    From Spartanburg, South Carolina, Al Rosen check in as the starting third baseman.

    In 1,44 career games, Rosen hit .285 with 192 home runs and 717 RBI's with an OPS of .879.

    In 1953, Rosen led the league with 43 homers and 145 RBI's, and finished second in batting average by less than one percentage point; JUST missing the Triple Crown, but he ran away with the American League MVP Award instead.

Shortstop: Lou Boudreau

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    In 1,646 career games, Boudreau hit .295 with 789 RBI's, only 309 strikeouts, and a three-time league leader in doubles. 

    In 1948, as a player-manager for the Cleveland Indians, Boudreau hit .355 with 18 homers and 106 RBI's as he won the A.L. MVP Award, leading the Indians to the World Series Championship.

Left Field: Ryan Braun

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    The best active Jewish baseball player, Ryan Braun, or known in some circles as the Hebrew Hammer is a no-brainer for left fielder.

    In just 689 games, Braun has 151 home runs and 498 RBI's to go along with a .310 batting average, a .927 OPS, and 86 stolen bases for good measure.

    Braun has won a Rookie of the Year Award, three Silver Sluggers, and has been voted to the  All-Star three times and is only 27 years old.

Center Field: Shawn Green

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    Playing slightly out of position, but nowhere near enough to hurt the team, Shawn Green is the center fielder.

    In 1,951 career games, Green hit .283 with 328 home runs and 1,070 RBI's with an OPS of .850. 

    Green provides another lefty power hitter for the team. 

Right Field: Kevin Youkilis

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    "Youk", somewhat of a utility player, is our right fielder

    In 900 career games at third base, second base, first base, left field, and right field, through August 16th 2011, Youkilis is batting .291 with 129 home runs and 548 RBI's, with an .888 OPS.

    His best season came in 2008 when he batted .312 with 29 homers and 115 RBI's with an OPS of .961, finishing third in the voting for A.L. MVP.

Designated Hitter: Ron Blomberg

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    The first designated hitter ever, Blomberg comes in as the final starter for the team.

    In 461 career games, Blomberg hit .293 with 224 RBI's and an OPS of .832.

    His best season was his DH-debut year of 1973 when he hit .329 with 12 home runs and 57 RBI's.

     

    And now on to the bench players:

Catcher: Harry Danning

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    A four time All-Star, Harry Danning is the back-up catcher.

    In 890 career games, Danning batted .285 with 397 RBI's. His best season was 1939, when he hit .313 with 16 homers and 74 RBI's. Danning was just as solid defensively as well, leading N.L. catchers in putouts three times, as well as baserunners caught stealing twice.

Catcher: Brad Ausmus

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    An 18 year vet, Ausmus is the team's third catcher.

    Ausmus was a notch or two below Lieberthal and Danning offensively in his career, only hitting .251 with 80 home runs and 607 RBI's in 1,971 career games, but was as solid defensively as any catcher to ever play the game.

    Ausmus was a three time Gold Glove winner and finished his career ranked in the top three in career putouts for a catcher and in the top 10 for fielding percentage.

1st Baseman: Ike Davis

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    Despite playing just 183 games in the bigs, Ike Davis is the back-up first baseman.

    During his one-and-a-half seasons with the New York Mets, Davis is hitting .271 with 26 home runs and 96 RBI's, with an OPS of .817.

2nd Baseman: Buddy Myer

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    A man who would be on many expert's starting teams, Buddy Myer is the back-up second baseman. 

    In 1,923 games in the majors, Myer hit .303 with 850 RBI's and an OBP of .390.

    In 1935, his .349 batting average and 100 RBI's earned him fourth place in A.L. MVP voting.

Utility Man: Lipman Pike

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    The first professional baseball player ever is one of two utility men on the team.

    In 425 career games at second, third, shortstop, and outfield, Pike hit .322 with 21 home runs and 332 RBI's and an OPS of .808

    In Pike's seven full seasons in the league (back when regular seasons were no more than 70 games), he led the league in home runs four times, RBI's once, and slugging once.

Those Who Just Missed the Cut

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    - Sam Fuld, OF (above)

    - Gabe Kapler, OF

    - Scott Schoenweis, RP

    - Steve Yeager, Catcher

The Line-Up and How the Team Would Fare

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    SS- Lou Boudreau

    2B- Ian Kinsler

    LF- Ryan Braun

    1B- Hank Greenberg

    RF- Kevin Youkilis

    3B- Al Rosen

    CF- Shawn Green

    C- Mike Lieberthal

    DH- Ron Blomberg


    Starting Pitchers: Sandy Koufax, Ken Holtzman, Steve Stone, Jason Marquis

    Relief Pitchers: Joe Horlen, Barney Pelty, Erskine Mayer, Craig Breslow, Scott Feldman, John Grabow

    In a 162 game season, this team would be favored to make the playoffs. Other than maybe Lieberthal and Blomberg, it's hard to find a weak spot in this line-up. There's a solid mix of power and contact hitters throughout the line-up. Speed is not as noticeable, but Kinsler, Green, and Braun have all stolen 20 bases or more in a season.

    For starting pitching, there is as fine of an Ace as there can be with Koufax—and Holtzman, Stone, and Marquis are a very solid 2-3-4.  With the average bullpen and offense capabilities, they would each have the potential to win 15-20 games in a season.

    However, this bullpen is not good enough to be considered average. With "talent" rivaling that of the 2007-2008 New York Mets, this bullpen, with no true leader and no true closer, would need to hope that the offense and the starters could provide them with as big a lead as possible every night, because after Horlen and Pelty, the other four relievers are capable of blowing a lead on almost any given night.

     

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