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Jewish World Series MVPs

Jewish Major Leaguer Craig Breslow will become the 24 Jewish player to appear in the World Series, should he pitch for the Boston Red Sox in the 2013 Fall Classic.
Craig Breslow. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
The Boston Red Sox take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, which starts tonight, Wednesday, October 23. 

Should he have the opportunity to come on in relief, Red Sox pitcher Craig Breslow will become the 24 Jewish Major Leaguer to play in the World Series, as documented in these postings from Kaplan's Korner and Jewish Baseball News.

Koufax Upper Deck Print

Sandy Koufax Upper Deck artwork. Photo courtesy of Beckett.com.

 

During the history of the World Series Most Valuable Player Award (which started in 1955), two Jewish baseball players and a player who converted to Judaism after his career won a total of four MVP trophies.

Interestingly, all three played for the Los Angeles Dodgers when they captured the honors.

 

 

Larry Sherry 1960 Topps

Larry Sherry Topps card. Photo courtesy of eBay.com.

JewishSportsCollectibles.com offers reviews of the players' baseball cards and collectibles ... which range from common cards to $100,000+ game-used leather, from books to DVDs, from postcards and programs to books by the yard. 

Steve Yeager 2004 UD Legends 2 Autograph
Steve Yeager Upper Deck card. Photo courtesy of Beckett.com.

To read the JSC's overviews of the cards and memorabilia for World Series MVP winners Larry Sherry (1959), Sandy Koufax (1963 and 1965) and Steve Yeager (1981) click on the players' names.

Feel free to comment below, or in the individual postings, to let JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers know what your most treasured collectible for these World Series winners might be.

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Editor's Note: A version of this posting originally ran under the headline "Jewish World Series MVP Profiles" in 2011.

Wilt Chamberlain: 'Borscht Belt Bellhop'


Wilt Chamberlain BellHop
Wilt Chamberlain: Borscht Belt Bellhop. Photo courtesy of Kutshersdoc.Jimdo.com.
Wilt Chamberlain: Borscht Belt Bellhop is currently airing on ESPN's 30 for 30 series. The documentary short film, from the Jewish filmmakers who made Welcome to Kutsher's, sheds light on basketball great Wilt Chamberlain's Jewish connections and ties to the famed Catskills resort.

Directed and produced by Caroline Laskow and Ian Rosenberg, both Jews, Borscht Belt Bellhop examines Wilt Chamberlain's time working at Kutsher’s Country Club in New York's Catskill Mountain region in the summer of 1954.

Then a senior in high school, the future Basketball Hall of Famer served as a bellhop by day, and played basketball for the Kutscher's basketball team, which was coached by Jewish coaching legend Arnold "Red" Auerbach, who would later go on to a Hall of Fame career coaching the Boston Celtics.

According to the film's web site:

"Mixing rarely-seen archival video and interviews with people who lived and worked with Wilt during that magical summer, this documentary short reveals an unexplored and pivotal chapter in the life of one of basketball’s greatest players, and a fascinating glimpse of a time when a very different era of basketball met the Borscht Belt in its heyday." 

Wilt Chamberlain BellHop screencap
The film is available to view, in it's entirety, on ESPN's web site (or by clicking on the image above). Borscht Belt Bellhop is also being screened at a variety of film festivals. Visit the documentary's web site for a list of upcoming showings.

The mini-documentary about Chamberlain is an outgrowth of Laskow and Rosenberg's Welcome to Kutsher's: The Last Catskills Resort.

That film, released in 2012, takes a "fuller look at the increasingly forgotten aspects of this unique chapter of the Jewish American experience," Rosenberg said in an email to JewishSportsCollectibles.com. The film is expected to release on DVD later this year, according to Rosenberg.

Other than the soon-to-be released Welcome to Kutsher's DVD, memorabilia from both films is extremely limited. Rosenberg says that he and Laskow don't expect to have any merchandise to sell. "ESPN Films may later make the 30 for 30 Shorts available for sale at some point," Rosenberg told JSC, "but that's out of our hands." 

For now, posters from and tickets to the various film festivals at which the documentaries have been (or will be) shown may be a Jewish basketball collector's only option. Borscht Belt Bellhop made is festival debut at the internationally-acclaimed Tribecca Film Festival, for example. Visit the film's web site for a list of past and upcoming screenings.

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In addition to the documentary film, Jewish basketball enthusiasts have access to a wide variety of cards and memorabilia associated with Chamberlain and Auerbach, including books, jerseys, autographed photos, basketballs, etc.

Wilt Chamberlain card
Wilt Chamberlain Panini Century Greats card. Photo courtesy of eBay.
Chamberlain is the subject of hundreds of basketball cards and numerous books. For a checklist of his pasteboard, visit Beckett.com. To purchase Chamberlain's cards and other collectibles, visit the Beckett Marketplace, eBay or Amazon.com.
Red Auerbach
Red Auerbach Center Court Art postcard. Photo courtesy of eBay.

Likewise, Red Auerbach cards -- including several specifically Jewish basketball cards -- and memorabilia is plentiful. For a checklist of his cards, visit Beckett.com. To purchase Auerbach collectibles, visit the Beckett Marketplace, eBay or Amazon.com.

For a look at some of the Red Auerbach memorabilia collection sold at auction by SCP Auctions in 2011, check out this posting from JewishSportsCollectibles.com.

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Have you seen Borscht Belt Bellhop or the Kutsher's documentary? What Red Auerbach memorabilia is part of your Jewish basketball collection? Given his connections to the community, does Wilt Chamberlain have a place in your Jewish basekball catalogue?

Let JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers know by commenting below.


MLB New Jew Review: Nate Freiman

Nate Freiman Topps Debut
Nate Freiman Topps Debut. Photo courtesy of JSC.
Nate Freiman is the newest Jewish Major Leaguer to take to the diamond. 

The 6'8" first baseman made his big league debut April 3. The A's claimed Freiman from the Houston Astros, who placed Freiman on waivers late in Spring Training after he was acquired by the team from the San Diego Padres in December's Rule 5 Draft, according to JewishBaseballNews.com.

An all-star at every level in the minors, Freiman quickly adapted to the majors, crushing his first home run in just his 14th at-bat. The video of the 3-run shot is impressive to watch.

Nate Freiman 2012 Bowman
Nate Freiman 2012 Bowman. Photo courtesy of eBay.

Jewish baseball collectors have access to numerous cards and collectibles associated with the Team Israel and Oakland A's star.

Freiman's baseball cards include both minor and major league pasteboard.

His major league issues include 2010 Topps Pro Debut, 2011 Bowman Prospects, 2012 Bowman Prospects. 

While few in number, Freiman's cards include numerous variations, limited edition, autographed and one-of-a-kind issues (visit Beckett.com for a checklist).

Freiman's major league cards are available for purchase on eBay (also a good source for minor league sets and singles), Amazon.com and the Beckett Marketplace.

A former Duke star (he hold's the team's career record for home runs), Freiman's minor league cards include team issues from the 2009 Eugene Emeralds, 2010 Ft. Wayne TinCaps, 2011 Lake Elsnore Storm and 2012 San Antonio Missions.

Freiman is also featured on 2012 Texas League Top Prospects and 2010 Midwest League All-Star cards. 

Nate Freiman 2006 Delaware Cows
Nate Freiman 2006 Delaware Cows. Photo courtesy
of JSC.
Freiman is also the subject of a limited edition region issue baseball card issued by the 2006 Delaware Cows. The now-defunct team played in the Great Leagues Summer Collegiate League

Jay Sokol, a Columbus, Ohio insurance executive and baseball enthusiast, served as the Cows' general manager from 1997-2010. Sokol contacted JSC in October 2012, following the posting of the article about Nate Ebner, and was kind enough to share one of Freiman's Cows cards with me.

Sokol, who is Jewish, tells JewishSportsCollectibles.com that the Delaware Gazette (a local newspaper) produced only 150 Cows team sets, and that the cards "were strictly a giveaway and distributed at the [team's] last home game of the season."

I have never seen Freiman's Cows card listed on eBay. MinorLeagueNetwork.com, a site specializing in minor league card sales, lists several Delaware Cows team sets for sale, but does not include a price in the listing of the 2006 issue.

Possible sources for Freiman's minor league cards include STB Sports, a seller of minor league sets, and MinorLeague Singles.com, which sells minor league singles. As of this posting, neither seller offered the Cows card or set. Both, however, offer Freiman's affiliated minor league cards and sets.

Nate Freiman Team Israel Photo
Nate Freiman Team Israel autographed photo. Photo courtesy of eBay.

Collectors comfortable with making purchases on eBay can find a variety of Freiman signed balls and autographed photos on the auction giant.

These include images of Freiman playing for Team Israel in the 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifiers. Freiman batted .417 and hit four home runs playing for Israel, according to Wikipedia.

There are also several game-used and signed bats listed for sale on eBay, as of this posting. As always, buyer beware.

Nate Freiman signed ball
Nate Freiman signed ball. Photo courtesy of eBay.
No photos of Freiman are available in the MLB Photo store, and no A's memorabilia (other than customer-customized jerseys) can be found in the A's online store, as of this posting.

Likewise, no Freiman memorabilia is available on the official Duke online store or Duke athletics auction sites.

If the big righty continues to hit in the majors as he has in the past, these will be short lived trends.

Do you know of any other cards or collectibles? What Nate Freiman memorabilia do you have in your Jewish baseball collection? Let JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers know by commenting below.


AJHS 'Night of Jewish Baseball' Recap

AJHS Night of Jewish Baseball Panel DiscussionThe American Jewish Historical Society recently hosted “A Night Of Jewish Baseball.

A sell-out, the February 27 event featured Jewish sportswriter and broadcaster Len Berman moderating a panel discussion that include three renowned Jewish baseball authors and two former Jewish Major Leaguers.

Ira Berkow, author of Hank Greenberg: The Story of My LifeFranklin Foer, editor of Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame, and Jane Leavy, author of Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy made up the panel of authors. 

Baseball historian and author John Thorn was scheduled to appear, but was ill and unable to take part.

Former Yankees media relations representative and sports publicist Marty Appel, himself a Jew and the author of several baseball books, handled PR for the event.

In an email following the festivities, Appel told JewishSportsCollectibles.com that Leavy shared with the crowd the story of Sandy Koufax attending her daughter's bat mitzvah.  

"He doesn't like those sorts of things because when he enters, 250 people come at him, it detracts from the event, and engulfs him," Appel said, relaying Leavy's account of the day. "But he did this for Jane, who quickly hustled [Sandy] into a private study for peace and quiet prior to the ceremony.

"In the study was Emma, the bat mitzvah girl, and a friend of hers, a boy. The boy asked Sandy how to throw a curve ball, and Sandy demonstrated. The boy insisted he was wrong, that this is the way you throw it.

"Amused, Sandy made the point that he had some success with his style. The boy refused to budge and said Sandy was not doing it right, he should do it his way.

"Finally, Sandy said, 'Look, this is how you $%^$E throw it!' The profanity was ballplayer-talk, and brought the house down."

Ron Blomberg and Art ShamskyFormer Jewish Major Leaguers Ron Blomberg and Art Shamsky also headlined the affair. Blomberg shared with attendees some of the stories contained in his autobiography, Designated Hebrew.

Appel tells JSC that Blomberg "talked about growing up Jewish in Atlanta, surrounded by KKK, but always a Yankee fan."

IBL Players at the AJHS Night of Jewish BaseballBoth Shamsky and Blomberg managed in the short-lived Israel Baseball League.

Several IBL veterans, including Nate Fish and Shlomo Lipetz, who coached and pitched with Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers, and Secretary-General, Israel Association of Baseball Peter Kurz attended the function. 



Team Israel signed World Baseball Classic jersey Sandy Koufax Jerseys on Display At the AJHS Night of Jewish BaseballThe event featured a display of Jewish baseball memorabilia, including autographed uniforms from Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax and a team signed Team Israel WBC jersey.

Also on display was an autographed, limited edition All Jewish Baseball Players lithograph by artist Ron Lewis and Greg Harris.

The artwork was auctioned during the event, with proceed benefiting AJHS. 


Jewish Major Leaguers Baseball Cards Jews In Baseball lithographThe first 100 attendees who purchased $150 “reserved seats” received a gold-trimmed, limited edition set of the 2003 edition of Jewish Major Leaguers baseball cards, and attendees could also purchase JML card sets during the event.

I only wish I could have attended the AJHS Night of Jewish Baseball, instead of blogging about it from afar. Alas, I'm in Ohio and the event was held in New York City.

Did you attend the Night of Jewish Baseball? Tell JSC readers about your experience by commenting below. Share your photos from the event by emailing JewishSportsCollectibles.com at jsportscollctr@gmail.com

All event photos used above are by Melanie Einzig, courtesy of the American Jewish Historical Society. Additional photos can be found on the AJHS web site and Facebook page.

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eBay Alert: Steve Stone Topps Photo Negatives

Steve Stone Topps Photo 1972
Steve Stone Topps Photo 1972. Photo courtesy of eBay.
The Topps Vault is offering 10 different vintage photo negatives of Jewish Cy Young Award winning pitcher and sportscaster Steve Stone for bid on eBay.

According to the description for the 1971 photo listing:

"All of these classic images were shot by official Topps photographers but, for reasons unknown, failed to make the cut, and thus, never appeared on a vintage Topps trading card. The original color transparency offered here measures approx. 2 1/2" X 3 1/2" and is in excellent condition. For authenticity, the official Topps serial numbered hologram is affixed onto the white reverse side backing board (see sample photo). Each vintage negative is encased in a clear lucite cardholder and comes with an official Topps Vault certificate of authenticity."

The phrase "classic images" is marketing-speak for "the photos show Stone with a funny hair do and wearing uniforms that define the disco era."

Steve Stone Topps photo 1977
Steve Stone Topps photo 1977. Photo courtesy of eBay.
Truely, it's a wonder that baseball survived the Afro and powder blue, wide-collar uniform era!

70s' style criticisms aside, Jewish baseball collectors can bid on the individual cards by clicking the links below:

All of the auctions carry a starting bid of $9.95, and are scheduled to end on the night of Thursday, April 11. 

Do you plan to bid on any of the photo negatives? Do you have any original photos or negatives in your Jewish baseball collection. Brag about your memorabilia to other JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers by commenting below.