Art Shamsky’s four consecutive home runs; Moe Berg’s record for consecutive games without an error, Phil Weintraub’s 11-RBI game and Jake Pitler’s 15 putouts at second base are just a few of the special achievements honored in the fifth edition of Jewish Major Leaguers baseball cards, on sale in April.
The most heralded “niche” baseball card set of recent years also includes all Jewish players in the big leagues in 2008, noting Ryan Braun’s dramatic home run at the end of the regular season that thrust the Milwaukee Brewers into the playoffs, and Scott Schoeneweis moving to the top of the “games pitched” leaders among all Jewish players.
The 2008 season saw 13 Jewish players in the game including rookies Brian Horwitz and Josh Whitsell, along with Schoeneweis, Braun, Brad Ausmus, Jason Marquis, Gabe Kapler, Kevin Youkilis, John Grabow, Scott Feldman, Ian Kinsler, Jason Hirsh and Craig Breslow. Youkilis, Braun and Kinsler were all named to the All-Star team, tying a record for the most Jews in the All-Star Game in one season. One-hundred fifty nine players of Jewish heritage have played in the Major Leagues according to the latest available research.
A newly-discovered player from the past – Bill Hurst of the 1996 Florida Marlins – receives his first card, and appears on the all-time roster of Jewish players, which is included along with career leaders.
The 50-card set also honors long-time Topps executive Sy Berger, the “Father of the Modern Baseball Card,” and the late Jerome Holtzman, a Hall of Fame sportswriter who created the “save” statistic.
A card honors three Jewish team owners of the past – Andrew Freedman of the New York Giants (1895-1902), Julius Fleischman of the Cincinnati Reds (1902-1925) and Judge Emil Fuchs of the Boston Braves (1923-1935).
With creative research, the cards also pay tribute to such oddities as Guy Zinn, who was the first batter in Fenway Park in 1912, and to Lou Limmer, who hit the last Philadelphia Athletics home run in 1954. Buddy Myer, the all-time Jewish stolen base champion, is cited for being the only Jewish batting champion in baseball history.
Youkilis, who nearly won the American League’s MVP award, did win the Jewish Major Leaguer’s MVP award for his spectacular 2008 campaign and is thusly honored with an additional card.
The 2009 edition is available for $36, plus $3 shipping and handling, and orders should be sent to Jewish Major Leaguers, 104 Greenlawn Ave., Newton, MA 02459. Checks should be made payable to JML. (www.Jewishmajorleaguers.org). Orders received prior to March 31 are just $30, plus $3 shipping and handling.
This year’s edition is printed by Upper Deck Company, and is limited to 3,000 sets, each sold in a clear plastic case suitable for display.