Top 10 Jewish Baseball Players in MLB | Top 10 Baseball | The Ninth

JEWS. We’re known for some great things… creating
monotheism, theoretical physics, bagels. But not typically, or at least stereotypically
for athletic prowess. Which is why it might shock you to learn that
there are in fact some amazing Jewish Baseball players. That’s right, some of the Chosen People
chose ball caps over kippas, turf over t’fillin, triple-plays over Talmud. Here are the top ten greatest Jewish baseball
players of all time. Hi, I’m Mike. And I’m Dan. And we’re the Co-Creators of the Ninth on
CBC Gem. We’re also Jewish. So today we’re combining two of our favorite
pasttimes, Baseball and Judaism to bring you the top ten players in the tribe. Not that tribe. This tribe. To kick off the simcha coming at number ten,
we’ve got… Number 10 – Kevin Youkillis Kevin Youkillis, aka “Youk”, once held
baseball’s record for most consecutive errorless games at first base. He’s won the Gold Glove Award, and the Hank
Aaron Award. He’s a three-time All-Star, two time World
Series campion, and has been inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame. Youk managed to accomplish all this despite
growing up a fat kid—probably because his bubbie kept saying “eat, eat! You’re skin and bones!” His weight meant “Youk” wasn’t the only
nickname he ever earned. Coming up, he was often underestimated, and
bullied, even by his coaches. His high school coach used to call him “roly-poly’. His college coach called him “pudgy”. And general manger Billy Beane referred to
him by a very creative moniker–”fat kid.” Beane would go on to give Youkillis a much
more complimentary nickname in his bestselling book, Money Ball. There, he called him “the Greek god of walks”
. But this more complimentary name was only half right. As you might have gathered from the fact that
he’s on this list…Kevin Youkillis is Jewish, not Greek. Another fun fact about Youk, he appeared in
the music video for the Dropkick Murphys song Going Out in Style. Number 9 – Ian Kinsler Ian Kinsler is a four time all-star, a world
series champion, a two-time member of the 30-30 club, a three-time member of the 20-20
club, and a two-time recipient of the Gold Glove Award. He’s also been awarded the Fielding Bible
Award, hit for the cycle in a game in 2009, and was featured on the 2009 Sporting News
list of 50 greatest current baseball players. Like Youk, Kinsler is also an underdog who
defied the odds. The five-tool player was drafter in the 17th
round out of college. Plus, he has asthma! Fun story: Now entering his 14th season in
the majors, Kinsler is 37 years old. He recently told a reporter that while he
doesn’t feel old, his Alexa disagrees. He claims his kids asked Alexa how old he
is, and it said “Ian Kinsler is 36 years old. He’s 10 years older than the average Padres
player.” Number 8 – Sid Gordon Brooklyn-born Sidney Gordon played in the
MLB from 1941 to 1955, except for two seasons he missed serving in the Coast Guard during
WWII. Some credit this as the reason he never made
it into the hall of fame. But, Sid did get a couple consolation prizes,
being inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and the National Jewish
Sports Hall of Fame. Gordon was a versatile player, playing third
base, first base, and as an outfielder. He was a two-time all-star, but even as a
top player and a military veteran, he faced his share of antisemitism. One day the Cardinal’s bench apparently hurled
antisemitic remarks at him, which he ignored. At 57 years old, Gordon passed away after
a heart attack he suffered while playing softball in Central Park. Number 7 – Harry Danning “Harry the Horse” was a four-time All-Star
for the New York Giants, earning a reputation as one of the best defensive catchers in baseball
while hitting over .300 three times. He was a member of the National League All
Star team four years in a row, twice placing in the top 10 in MVP voting. But why did they call him the horse, you ask? It’s after a Damon Runyon character… get
your mind out of the gutter. Harry’s brother, Ike Danning, was also an
MLB player, paying for the St Louis Browns in 1928. But apparently he wasn’t as good as his brother,
because he didn’t make this list. After baseball, Harry served in the military
and became a minor league coach. Harry lived a long life, passing away at the
age of 93. Number 6 – Shawn Green Growing up, Green felt little connection to
Judaism, and was not bar mitzvahed. That all changed when he cracked the big leagues
as a sweet-swinging outfielder for the Blue Jays. Green began embracing his religion while developing
a bond with that city’s vibrant Jewish community, often getting invited to local simchas. Traded to the Dodgers in 1999, he continued
to reconnect with his Jewish roots in Los Angeles. When he famously took a day off to honor the
Jewish atonement day of Yom Kippur, he evoked memories of Koufax decades earlier. With more than 300 homers and 1,000 RBIs in
his standout career, Green ranks as one of the most prolific Jewish sluggers of all time. Mets, Toronto, LA… meaning he had Katzs,
Centre Street Deli and Kanters. Three exceptional smoke meat sandwhiches. Truly one of the great deli careers of all
time. He also played for the
the Arizona Diamondbacks. Number 5 – Rod Carew Maybe not technically a Jew, but he married
one. Carew received death threats when he announced
plans to marry a Jewish woman, but went through with the ceremony. He went on to observe Jewish customs, including
raising his kids in the Jewish faith. One of the best pure hitters the game has
ever known, Carew retired with 3,053 hits, a .328 batting average, and a 1991 induction
in Cooperstown. He wore a Chai. A Chai! If that’s not Jewish I dunnno what is. Carew has actually widely mistaken to be a
Jew. He was even included in Adam Sandler’s The
Channakuh song, with the line “OJ Simpson…not a Jew! But guess who is: Hall of Famer Rod Carew. –He converted.” Number 4 – Lou Boudreau Nicknamed The Good Kid, Handsome Lou, and
Old Shufflefoot, Lou Boudreau’s accomplishments include seven All-Star appearances, a World
Series title as a player-manager, a batting title, and the 1948 MVP. To this day, he still hold the MLB record
for hitting the most consecutive doubles in a game. (4) A baseball lifer, he continued to manage after
his playing career ended, after which he joined the Cubs broadcast team. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1970. He invented the Infield Shift. Number 3 – Al Rosen Nicknamed Flip and the Hebrew Hammer, Al Rosen
was a World Series champion and four-time all-star. He was the named the American League MVP in
1953, and the stats don’t lie. That year, he had a .336 batting average,
a .422 on-base percentage, with 43 home runs. A noteably tough Jew, Rosen was an amateur
boxer who broke his nose thirteen times during his baseball career. He was known to confront anti-Semitic taunts
from fans and opposing players. –Why would you taunt an amateur boxer? Rosen twice led the league in home runs, before
retiring at 32 due to back and leg injuries. He would eventually come back to baseball,
working as a baseball executive. But immediately after his retirement, he became
a stockbroker, a career he pursued for the next 22 years. Number 2 – Hank Greenberg Hank Greenberg was the original bearer of
the nickname The Hebrew Hammer. He was also called Hammerin Hank and Hankus
Pankus. A five time all-star, two time world series
champion, and two time American league mvp, Hank Greenberg is one of the all time great
sluggers, and may just be the best first baseman of all time. Greenberg was the first Jewish superstar in
American team sports. He was the first to refuse to play on Yom
Kippur. He was one of the few opposing players to
publicly welcome Jackie Robinson, when he broke the color barrier. And he served in WWII from 1941-1945. Fun fact, when joining the military, his salary
was cut from 55,000 per year to 21 per month. In today’s dollars thats an annual salary
drop from a million dollars a year to less than 5000. Number 1 – Sandy Koufax Sandy Koufax is indisputably the greatest
Jewish baseball player of all time. He pitched 12 seasons for the dodgers, both
in Brooklyn and LA, and despite his premature retirement due to arthritis at the age of
30, he accomplished more than any ballplayer could ever ever hope for. The seven-time all-star pitched four no-hitters
and one perfect game, was named national league MVP, and lead his dodgers to world series
championships four times. The dodgers retired his number, 32, and at
just 36 years old, he became the youngest player to ever be elected to the Baseball
Hall of Fame. Koufax is probably best known today for the
fact that he sat out Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it was on Yom Kippur. Fortunately, the Dodgers won the series anyway. Slightly less well-known is that Koufax’s
pitching had to overcome the fact that he had the tendency to ‘tip’ pitches throughout
his career. Willie Mays said of him, “I knew every pitch
he was going to throw and still I couldn’t hit him.” — Well that does it for this list. We’re gonna go get some matza ball soup
and some egg creams and discuss our starting lineup of prophets… I’m putting Ezekiel at lead and a big time
Isaiah at cleanup. Remember to watch, subscribe, tweet, and mySpace

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