In Other News...Top Nine Jewish MLB Players Ever
"O.J. Simpson...not a Jew. But guess who is? Hall of Famer Rod Carew."
That line is part of Adam Sandler's "Channukah Song."
Although, as Ben says, "Christianity holds baseball together and makes a lot of players similar," Judaism is very important to the sport, too.
Jews have been a minority in America forever and are also a minority in baseball. Finding a good Jewish player is rare.
So, let us count down the top nine baseball players who will be lighting the candles of the Channukah Menorah tonight.
9. Ryan Braun
"The Hebrew Hammer"
The 23-year-old Southern California native ranks among the major league leaders in batting average, home runs and slugging percentage. Had he gotten the call before late May, Braun would be a legitimate candidate for MVP, an award only two other rookies have won.
8. Kevin Youkilis
In Michael Lewis' bestseller "Moneyball," Billy Beane famously referred to Youkilis as "the Greek God of Walks." Not quite.
The Red Sox first baseman has parlayed a great batting eye into a key role on baseball's best team. But he's actually Jewish, not Greek.
One of the best young players, he has a career coming.
7. Sid Gordon
An excellent hitter who posted a .377 career on-base percentage and made two All-Star teams, Gordon is nonetheless unfairly remembered as the reason the Braves left Boston for Milwaukee in the 1950s.
When franchise shortstop Alvin Dark and veteran second baseman Eddie Stanky stopped getting along with embattled manager Billy Southworth, the Braves responded by trading them to the Giants for a four-player package led by Gordon.
Dark led the 1951 Giants team to the pennant and the 1954 team to the World Series title. Gordon enjoyed three excellent seasons in Boston, but the fans hardly noticed, as attendance plunged from 14,000 a game before the trade to 3,000 per game in 1952. The next year, the team fled for Milwaukee.
6. Shawn Green
He was the highest paid outfielder in baseball at one point, and I believe he made the All-Star team seven times.
With more than 300 homers and 1,000 RBIs in his standout career, Green ranks as one of the prolific Jewish sluggers of all time.
5. Al Rosen
Rosen's 1953 MVP season remains one of the best ever for a third baseman: .336 batting average; .422 on-base percentage; .613 slugging percentage, with 43 homers and 145 RBI.
The four-time All-Star and five-time 100-RBI man retired at age 32 due to back and leg injuries.
An amateur boxer who broke his nose 13 times during his baseball playing career, Rosen defied the stereotype of the skinny, nebbishy Jew who lacked toughness.
4. Lou Boudreau
He wasn't raised Jewish and never identified with being Jewish. But his mother was on the team, so he is too.
Boudreau was one of the greatest shortstops of any faith ever to play, making eight All-Star teams and winning the MVP award in 1949 with a .355 average and 106 RBI.
Boudreau was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1970.
3. Rod Carew
Carew isn't actually Jewish; however, he married a Jewish woman, after receiving many death threats, and converted.
Hall of Famer Carew retired with 3,053 hits, and a .328 batting average.
2. Hank Greenberg
The two-time MVP was one of the most feared sluggers of his day.
The original Hammerin' Hank, Greenberg's 58 homers in 1938 stood as the single-season record by a right-handed hitter for 60 years.
He was also the first Jewish baseball player to gain widespread attention for refusing to play on Yom Kippur, a decision that was especially controversial since it occurred in the middle of the 1934 pennant race.
Also, he was the first Jewish Major Leaguer.
1. Sandy Koufax
I've got to give it to the guy...he is the best. Seven No-No's! He also famously did not play on Yom Kippur, the holy Jewish holiday where G-d closes the Book of Life, deciding who will live the year.
That's it. These were the best ever.