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Ryan Braun Public Signing

Topps Triple Threads Hebrew Hammer
Ryan Braun 2012 Topps Triple Threads Hebrew Hammer card. Photo courtesy of BlowOutCards.com.
Legends of the Field, a Wisconsin-based sports card shop and memorabilia dealer, is scheduled to host a public signing with Jewish Major Leaguer Ryan Braun on Saturday, June 8, 2013 from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. in Mequon, WI.

The event is Braun's first public signing in five years, according to the company's web site (read about some of Braun's previous private signings here).

Collectors can purchase a variety of baseballs, bats, helmets, photos and artwork for signature. Jewish baseball collectors can also submit their own items to be autographed.

Collectors unable to attend the event in person can send in items to be signed, but memorabilia must be delivered to Legends of the Field by no later than Thursday, June 6.

Autographs on baseballs and flat items, less than 16"X20" cost $149.99. Signatures on premium items, including bats, helmets, jerseys, etc., cost $179.99. Inscriptions cost $79.99 each.

Additional information about the signing and items available for purchase is available on Legends of the Field's site, or by calling Legends of the Field at (262) 367-1300. 

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2013-topps-opening-day-baseball-cards-box
Topps 2013 Opening Day cards. Photo courtesy of Topps.com.

Braun is featured on the packaging for Topps' 2013 Opening Day card products, and Jewish baseball collectors have access to thousands of Braun cards. These include minor and major league cards of all form and fashions, with dozens of limited edition, autograph and memorabilia card varieties (Beckett.com shows 2,700+ different cards for Braun).

Among Braun's cards area 2012 Topps Triple Threads autographed memorabilia card bearing Braun's "Hebrew Hammer" nickname (pictured above).

There are thousands of other Braun cards and collectibles listed on eBay, and available for direct purchase in the Beckett.com MarketplaceAmazon.com, the MLB.com Shop and MLB Photo Store.

These include cards; bobble heads and figurines; photos; jerseys; bats; tickets associated with notable games; programs, yearbooks and other ephemera.

Jewish Baseball Players artwork
Jewish Baseball Players artwork. Photo courtesy of JewishBaseballPlayer.com.
Braun is also featured in the Jewish Baseball Players limited edition lithograph by sports artist Ron Lewis and promoter Greg Harris.

The Brewers star is also the subject of several Sports Illustrated covers, as detailed in this JewishSportsCollectibles.com posting. Collectors can purchase back issues of SI from Amazon.com or eBay, and can buy reprinted from SportsIllustrated.com.

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What Braun memorabilia should JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers know about? What Ryan Braun memorabilia do you have in your Jewish baseball collection?

Do you plan to attend or buy anything from the upcoming Braun signing?

Let JSC.com by commenting below.


Team Israel World Baseball Classic Collectibles

WBC LogoThe qualifying rounds of the 2013 World Baseball Classic hold special appeal to Jewish baseball enthusiasts.

The international baseball tournament's September 19-23, 2012 games in Florida will include at least two appearances by Team Israel.

Although official rosters have not been released at the time of this posting, Team Israel will be heavily composed of Jewish American minor and major league baseball players (WBC rules allow non-Israeli citizens of Jewish heritage to compete on behalf of Israel in the tournament).

Team Israel Coaching Staff
Former Jewish Major Leaguers Shawn Green (player-coach), Gabe Kapler (player-coach) and Brad Ausmus (manager) will helm the Team Israel WBC squad. Photo courtesy of Israel Baseball.
Former Jewish Major Leaguer Brad Ausmus is the Team Israel manager. He's being assisted by former JMLers Shawn Green and Gabe Kapler, who will serve as player-coaches, and pitching coach Mark Lorraine. Numerous Jewish minor league players will round out the squad.

Columbus Clippers reliever Eric Berger, for example, tells JewishSportsCollectibles.com he's been approached about playing for Team Israel.

Berger says "to represent Israel would be really cool," and that he would pitch for the squad, if he has not been called up to the Indians or participating in the minor league post season. 

Should Team Israel qualify for WBC tournament play in March 2013, the team could boast a "Who's Who" of Jewish Major League players on the roster.

Kevin Youkilis in a Team Israel Jersey
Jewish Major Leaguer Kevin Youkilis poses in a Team Israel Jersey. Photo courtesy of Israel Baseball.
In an interview with Israel Sports Radio, Kevin Youkilis committed to play for the squad, if he's healthy.

Current and former Jewish Major Leaguers Ryan Braun, Craig Breslow, Ike Davis, Scott Feldman, Sam Fuld, John Grabow, Ryan Kalish, Ian Kinsler, Jason Marquis, Danny Valencia are also being considered for the team, although some may need to decide between playing for Team USA or Team Israel.

Regardless of the fact that Team Israel's WBC tournament run could be limited to just two games, there will -- no doubt -- be an expansive array of collectibles available for Jewish baseball collectors (memorabilia associated with the short-lived Israel Baseball League abounds, as detailed in this 2011 post on JewishSportsCollectibles.com). 

Major and minor league baseball cards for team members will be among the collectibles. Ausmus, Green and Kapler have been immortalized on cardboard on thousands of cards.

JML PostingMartin Abramowitz, publisher of the Jewish Major Leaguer card series, indicated in a post in early August on Team Israel's Facebook page that he planned to include an Israel WBC card in a planned 2015 release of JML cards (Stay tuned for more news on this! JSC.com hopes offer additional details on the next JML card set in a future posting).

The Way of Baseball
Shawn Green's The Way of Baseball. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.
Ausmus, Green and Kapler are also featured on programs, bobble heads, photos and a wide selection of other memorabilia. Green is also the author of The Way of Baseball: Finding Stillness at 95 mph.

Follow the links below to do searches of Amazon.com, the Beckett Marketplace and eBay for cards and other collectibles associated with Team Israel's "Big Three":

Israel Tshirt
Team Israel t-shirt. Photo courtesy of PrintoMojo.com.
Other Team Israel collectibles include team logo t-shirts, available from PrintMojo.com. A blue design features "Israel" on the chest, with a sleeve design that includes a picture of a batter surrounded by a modified Star of David and text that says "Israel Baseball, Where Traditions Meet."

A gray shirt features "Property of Israel Baseball" and the picture of a batter surrounded by a modified Star of David on the chest with the "Israel Baseball, Where Traditions Meet" text.

Tickets to the WBC qualifying rounds are available for sale on TicketMaster.com.

Roger Dean Stadium will host the WBC qualifiers. A ticket sales representative tells JSC that no commemorative tickets are being sold. Standard tickets are available, however. The tickets will feature team names and dates of games, along with standard seating information, said the sale rep.

With tickets selling for between $8-14, collectors might consider buying tickets as keepsakes, even if they cannot attend the games.

As the tournament play begins, there's also certain to be photos, programs, score cards and other memorabilia that crops up, some of which will be sold in the stadium.

JewishSportsCollectibles.com will be keeping a look out for these items and will be providing updates for collectors. I'm also planning a mailing to players requesting autographs when rosters are set. I'll let you know whether this endeavor proves successful.

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Are you planning to attend the WBC qualifiers to watch Team Israel? Will you be buying tickets as keepsakes, even if you can't go? What other Team Israel collectibles and memorabilia exist? Let us know by commenting below.

 


Collecting Justine Siegal, A Women's Baseball Pioneer

Siegel pitches to rays Justine Siegal represents a niche-within-a-niche for collectors.

The Jewish baseball player and coach has been getting lots of attention of late.

She is believed to be the first woman to pitch batting practice during Major League Baseball teams during Spring Training, as detailed recently on JewishBaseballNews.com.

While Siegal -- who's right arm and gender have been generating curiosity and media buzz at every stop along her six-team Spring Training road trip (check out her blog, Justine's Baseball Journey, for details) -- is no stranger to the diamond.

Nor is Siegal the first Jewish female to play or make her living in the game (see this post about the trio of Jewish women who played in the AAGPBL and Suzyn Waldman) -- but I digress.

Siegal began playing baseball at age 13. Told by a coach that "girls don't play baseball," Siegal turned her determination to be part of America's past time into a lifelong passion and career.

She has coached and played baseball on 5 continents. In 2009, Siegal became the first woman to coach first base in men's professional baseball, "manning" the coaching box for the Brockton Rox of the independent CanAm League. This is in addition to her three years (2007-10) as an assistant baseball coach at Springfield College.

Siegal is a coach and technical commissioner for the International Baseball Federation. Her 12-and-under team, the Sparks, is the first all-girls' baseball team to compete at a national "boys" tournament and is the subject of the documentary, "The Girls of Summer."

She is also the founder and executive director of Baseball For All, an organization offering opportunities to girls in baseball.

Justine Siegal Siegal's many accomplishments mean Jewish baseball enthusiasts have growing opportunities to collect her memorabilia.

The Rox issued a coach card for Siegal as part of the 2009 team set. It is part of the Disabled American Veterans series, with a limited edition of 344. The card sells for $2-$3 on eBay.

I bought my Siegal Rox cards for a similar price from speciality MiLB dealer Minor League Singles. Other minor league card specialists likely also offer Siegal's cards for sale.

Ephemera enthusiasts might want to include Rox schedules, programs, ticket stubs, yearbooks or media guides (like this one, available on eBay) in their collections. similar opportunities also exist for collectors of team baseballs, jerseys, hats, etc.

While, no doubt, slightly more esoteric, similar opportunities probably exist for collectors industrious enough to ferret out memorabilia associated with Springfield College and the IBF.

Movie enthusiasts might be able to find memorabilia associated with Girls of Summer. My searches, however, yielded nothing on Amazon or eBay.

Sam Fuld and Justine Siegel There are also numerous photos of Siegal (like the one from TampaBayOnline.com, featured above) available from news outlets (you can easily search for these on Google Images) that covered her Spring Training exploits.

My personal favorite features Siegal with Rays hopeful and Jewish Major Leaguer Sam Fuld.

Siegal willing responded to my email, and maintains an active Facebook profile.

With her permission, I'm going to send Siegal several to autograph. I'm excited to (hopefully!) add Siegal to both my Jewish baseball and Women In Baseball collections. I'll update you on my efforts in a future posting.

Does anyone else have Siegal in their collections? If so, what is your favorite piece? If not, will you be adding her memorabilia to yours?


Jewish Girls Basketball Team Forfits for Fast

Yeshiva basketball No concrete memorabilia connection here, but I wanted to share this story of devotion and faith, and a team's  decision that would make Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg proud.

"On Thursday afternoon at the SunDome in Yakima, Wash., the Mercer Island (Wash.) Northwest Yeshiva girls basketball team walked onto the court for its consolation-bracket game
in the Washington state tournament.

The girls shook the hands of their St. John (Wash.) St. John-Endicott opponents.

Then, they walked off the court.

Their actions weren't a protest or the result of any type of dispute. They were just the logical outcome of following their faith.

The game was scheduled to be played during the Jewish "Fast of Esther," a time when those of the Jewish faith go without both food - and, more importantly, water - until sundown on Thursday.

When their request to change the game time was denied, Northwest Yeshiva, an Orthodox Jewish high school of just 95 students located just outside Seattle, decided to forfeit.

"We didn't think it was safe for the team to play without water," the school's head, Rabbi Bernie Fox, said.

Because of it, the first team from a Jewish school to qualify for the state tournament became the first team in state history to forfeit a postseason game - all in the same week. The team finished the season with a 10-14 record.

Their actions have drawn national attention. Some have saluted them for showing there are more important things than sports; others have wondered why the issue couldn't have been avoided with a schedule change.

The school did make an attempt to play."

To read the complete story on Yahoo! Sports, click here. There are also several stories about the girls posted on the school's Web site.

A TV news story about the situation was featured on KOMO-TV's Web site. I've embedded that video below.


For the serious memorabilia collector ... The team the first Jewish team, male or female, to make it to a state tourney. The school is accepting contributions in honor of the team. Perhaps they'd send a schedule or team photo to contributors?

Photo courtesy Yahoo! Sports, AP, Yakima Herald-Republic.