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 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.
Ossie Schectman. Photo courtesy of Long Island University Athletics.
Oscar "Ossie" Schectman, the Jewish basketball player who scored the first basket in NBA history, died July 30, 2013 at age 94, according to the New York Times.
Schectman grew up in tenement housing in New York City, and perfected his shooting by arcing balls through a rung on a building fire escape, according to the NY Times remembrance.
He played college basketball at Long Island University, becoming an All-American and leading LIU to the 1939 and 1941 NIT championships, according to the SportingNews.com.
The SPHAs book cover. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.
According to his Wikipedia bio, after college Schectman played for the Philadelphia SPHAs (short for the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association) in the American Basketball League. The team, billed as "basketball's greatest Jewish team," was owned by basketball Hall of Famer Eddie Gottlieb, who was also Jewish.
In the league's first game, on November 1, 1946, between the Knicks and the Toronto Huskies, Schectman scored the game's first basket. Thus he become the first player in league history to score a point, according to this remembrance on NBA.com.
"Ossie Schectman was a true NBA pioneer," said NBA Commissioner David Stern. Scoring the league's first basket, Stern said of Schectman, "placed him permanently in the annals of NBA history."
The shot, according to The Jewish Ledger, inspired the title of David Vyorst's documentary film, The First Basket, which chronicles Jews' contributions to the early history of professional basketball. Video of Schetman's feat is part of the film's trailer, available below.
Peter Schectman, Ossie's son, tells JewishSportsCollectibles.com that Ossie was injured diving for a ball during the season. The injury, combined with his ability to earn money while not having to travel led to Ossie's decision.
Following his departure from the Knicks, Peter says Ossie played part-time with the Patterson (New Jersey) Crescents on the ABL, where he earned all-star honors.
Because of his lack of pasteboard presence, the sports card blog Pack War created a tribute card for Schectman, based on the design of the 1946 Remar Bread trading cards.
While it exists only as an image on the blog, the "virtual card" (pictured right) is well-done and would make a nice addition to Jewish basketball enthusiasts' photo collections.
At the time of this posting, eBay offered little in the way of Schectman collectibles for sale. The auction giant's lone listing was for a signed signed index card.
Closed auction results included a Schectman signed basketball that had sold for $127.50. This is a bargain price, in my opinion, for an autographed piece associated with such an important figure in Jewish sports and NBA history.
Ossie Schectman signed basketball. Photo courtesy of eBay.
Certainly, patient Jewish basketball enthusiasts will be able to find other Schectman memorabilia that is bound to pop up on eBay in the future. This might include 1946 Knicks memorabilia, like yearbooks, programs or ticket stubs.
As always, buyer beware.
Book collectors have numerous options for adding Schectman memorabilia to their shelves.
At the time of this posting, no copies of First Basket were listed on eBay. CDs of the movie soundtrack, however, were available for approximately $10. The soundtrack is available as part of a collectors package on the First Basket web site.
Ossie Schectman. Photo courtesy of LOhud.com.
Jewish sportswriter Howard Megdal authored a profile of Schectman in March for LOhud.com (access to the article requires a paid subscription).
In an email to JewishSportsCollectibles.com at the time, Megdal indicated that Schectman and his son, Peter, were interested in selling Ossie's memorabilia collection.
Peter Schectman tells JSC the family consigned numerous items to Lelands.com. The Ossie Schectman collection was included in the company's Spring 2013 auction, which closed June 8, 2013. A catalogue of the sale is available on the company's web site.
Ossie Schectman Contract. Photo courtesy of Lelands.com.
A 50th anniversary Knicks jersey, autographed by Schectman, failed to sell. Perhaps a lucky bidder will win this wonderful piece of Jewish basketball history in a future auction.
With Schectman's passing, Peter tells JSC that the family may put the remainder of Ossie's memorabilia collection up for auction or private sale. We'll report on future offerings as details become available.
In a recent online discussion about on the Jewish Sports Collectibles group on Yahoo, noted collector Neil Keller says he met with Schectman more than a dozen times at his home in South Florida. Keller says he and Schectman played "trash can basketball at his place in Delray Beach with a tennis ball."
Peter Schectman says his father was active in the South Florida Basketball Fraternity, a group of retired players , many Jewish, who met for weekly breakfasts on Tuesday and an annual black tie dinner. An article on JNS.org confirms this, describing Schectman as "one of basketball’s great ambassadors." It sounds to me that Schectman was a generous and charming man.
Did you ever have the chance to meet Ossie Schectman? What Schectman memorabia do you have in your Jewish basketball collection? What other Schectman collectibles do you know about?
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.
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.
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).
Valencia made his Major League debut in 2010 with the Minnesota Twins. He batted .311, swatted 7 HRs and 40 RBIs over 85 games, and garnered enough votes to finish third in the A.L. Rookie of the Year polling, according to JBallNews. After a significant sophomore slump in 2011, Valencia was sent to the minors by the Twins in 2011 and then traded to the Red Sox, for whom he appeared in just 10 games before being traded to the O's in the off-season.
Valencia had a strong showing with Baltimore in 2013 Spring Training, but started the season with the AAA Norfolk Tides. He performed well in the International League, batting .306 in 40 games with 11 HRs, 14 doubles and 35 RBIs before his call-up.
Recalled on Sunday, May 19, the newest Jewish Major Leaguer whacked a double in his first at-bat of his first game with the O's.
Jewish baseball collectors have access to numerous of Valencia cards and memorabilia.
Valencia has more than 200 different cards, according to Beckett.com.
This includes a wide variety of big league issues from Topps and Bowman. In addition to his standard cards, Valencia's pasteboard includes dozens of limited edition color variations, autographed and memorabilia cards, and serial numbered limited edition printings.
Among my favorites are Valencia's 2010 Topps Update Rookie card, 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen, 2011 Topps Triple Threads autographed memorabilia, and 2012 Topps cards, pictured above.
Danny Valencia New Britain Rock Cats card. Photo courtesy of eBay.
Valencia's minor league cards include team issues from the 2005 Glacier Pilots, 2006 Elizabethton Twins, 2007 Beloit Snappers, 2008 Fort Meyers Miracle, 2009 New Britain Rock Cats, 2010 Rochester Red Wings, as well as 2009 AA and 2010 AAA Top Prospects cards.
Prices vary widely, depending on the seller and the scarcity of the card you seek.
Danny Valencia signed ball. Photo courtesy of eBay.
Among the Valencia memorabilia available on eBay and Amazon.com at the time of this posting were signed bats, baseballs, jerseys, batting gloves and mini helmets, along with a variety of autographed and unsigned photos. Prices range from $30-a few dollars to more than $250, depending on the item.
As always, buyers beware.
Two photos featuring Valencia in his Twins uniform are available for purchase on the MLB.com Photo Store.
Danny Valencia walk-off hit. Photo courtesy of MLB.com Photo Store. Photo by Hannah Foslien, Getty Images.
This includes an image of his teammates mobbing Valencia after an extra-innings game-winning hit.
No Valencia memorabilia is available for sale in the MLB.com Shop, as of this posting.
In 2010, following his call up to the Majors during his rookie campaign for the Twins, I obtained a through-the-mail autograph from Valencia. I've subsequently mailed to him during Spring Training on two different occassions, without success. Has anyone else obtained Valencia's signature, either in person or through-the-mail.
What Valencia cards and memorabilia do you have in your Jewish baseball collection? Have you met him? Let JSC readers know by commenting below.
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. 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).
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. Photo courtesy of JSC.
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 autographed photo. Photo courtesy of eBay.