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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.


AJHS Hosting Night of Jewish Baseball

AJHS_Jewish_Baseball_InvitationThe American Jewish Historical Society is hosting “A Night Of Jewish Baseball” on Wednesday, February 27. Unfortunately, as of this posting, the event is sold out and no additional tickets are available for purchase.

But, for Jewish baseball enthusiasts and collectors fortunate enough to be able to go, the event promises to be exciting.

Author and sportscaster Len Berman is moderating a panel discussion that is scheduled to include four renowned authors and two former Jewish Major Leaguers, both of whom are also published authors.

The Jewish sportswriters and authors schedule to appear include:

Former baseball players Ron Blomberg and Art Shamsky are also scheduled to participate.

Ron Blomber 2003 Upper Deck Yankees
Ron Blomber 2003 Upper Deck card. Photo courtesy of JSC.
Blomberg, famed as baseball's first designated hitter, is the co-author of Designated Hebrew: The Ron Blomberg Story. Blomberg is also a veteran of the Israel Baseball League, where he managed the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox. 

He is the subject of numerous cards, including including Upper Deck's Yankees history card (pictured left) and the Jewish Major Leaguers sets. Beckett.com offers a complete checklist

A frequent signer, Blomberg items -- including signed and inscribed baseballs, photos, bats, jerseys and cards -- are plentiful on Beckett.comeBay and Amazon.com. Collectors can also purchase memorabilia directly from Blomberg, via his website.

Art Shamsky JML Card
Art Shamsky Jewish Major Leaguers card. Photo courtesy of JSC.

Shamsky, a member of the 1969 "Miracle Mets" is the author of The Magnificent Seasons: How the Jets, Mets, and Knicks Made Sports HIstory and Uplifted a City and the Country. Shamsky also managed in the Israel Baseball League, as the skipper for the Modi'in Miracle. 

Collectors have access to dozens of Shamsky cards (see Beckett.com for a checklist). His cards and other collectibles, including autographed memorabilia, are plentiful on eBay and Amazon.com. Jewish baseball enthusiasts can also purchase memorabilia from Shamsky's web site.

AJHS will have a display of Jewish baseball memorabilia, including autographed uniforms from Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax and the World Baseball Classic Team Israel during the event.

Jewish Baseball Lithograph
Ron Lewis Jewish Baseball lithograph. Photo courtesy of JewishBaseballPlayer.com and AJHS.

An autographed, limited edition All Jewish Baseball Players lithograph by artist Ron Lewis will also be on display.

The lithograph will be available for bid at silent auction.

The first 100 attendees who purchased $150 “reserved seats” will receive a gold-trimmed, limited edition set of the 2003 edition of Jewish Major Leaguers baseball cards. 

Are any JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers planning to attend the AJHS Night of Jewish Baseball? Share your experiences from the evening by commenting below, or by emailing jsportscollctr@gmail.com. And, stay tuned to JSC for pictures from the event in a future posting.


Charleston Film Fest Has Jewish Baseball Flicks

The Federated Jewish Charities of Charleston (West Virginia) film festival on Sunday, October 20, has a Jewish baseball theme, according to this article from the Charleston Daily Mail.

The festival will include screenings of Holy Land Hardball and Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story.

Both films are free and open to the public. Showings will be held at the Culture Center Theater at the West Virginia State CapitolHoly Land Hardball shows at 4 p.m. Jews and Baseball starts at 5:30 p.m., according to the Daily Mail

For additional information, call Federated Jewish Charities of Charleston at 304-345-2320, or email mzltov@aol.com.


Holy Land Hardball Poster
Holy Land Hardball poster. Photo courtesy of www.7thart.com.
Holy Land Hardball follows several players and league officials as it looks at the ill-fated experiment that was the Israel Baseball League's 2007 season.

Collectors can rent the film and download digital copies on Amazon.com. Jewish baseball enthusiasts at one time could purchase the DVDs from film's web site, but it appears to no longer be working.

Other memorabilia associated with Holy Land Hardball include promotional postcards and posters from the various Jewish film festivals at which the documentary has been shown.

Producer Brett Rapkin has proven himself willing to respond to emails in the past, and I count myself lucky to have corresponded with him. I'm pleased to have two signed Hardball promotional postcards in my personal collection of Jewish baseball memorabilia.

Watch the trailer for Holy Land Hardball below.


Jews and Baseball COver
Jews and Baseball poster. Photo courtesy of JewsandBaseball.com.

Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story examines Jewish Major League baseball players and the explores the meaning baseball has played in the lives of American Jews and their attempts to assimilate to American culture during the early 20th Century.

The movie includes a rare interview with Sandy Koufax.

DVDs and digital rentals of the movie are available on Amazon.com.

Movie buffs can also purchase a DVD from the film's web site and the Jewish Major Leaguers web site.

Other Jews and Baseball collectibles include posters, baseball caps and t-shirts. All can be purchased from the film's web site store.

Watch the trailer for Jews and Baseball below.



Read additional information about Jews and Baseball in this 2010 posting by JewishSportsCollectibles.com. Read more about Holy Land Hardball in this JSC article about the memorabilia associated with the Israel Baseball League.

Are you planning to attend the film festival this weekend? Have you seen Jews and Baseball or Holy Land Hardball? Share your thoughts on the films with other JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers 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.


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.


An Evening On Broadway with Jewish NBA Stars

Have $500 burning a hole in your pocket? Live in the New York City area? Interested in watching a play about Magic Johnson and Larry Bird? Want to meet father-son Jewish basketball legends? Tomorrow? Then read on!

On Thursday, April 19 (sorry for the short notice, I just found this!), the Maccabi USA organization is hosting a fundraiser in a partnership with the National Basketball Retired Players Association/Legends Care organization.

Dolph Danny Schayes Co-SignersAttendees can mix and mingle with Jewish basketball legends Dolph Schayes and Danny Schayes (and other NBA Legends) at an exclusive pre-theater cocktail reception, watch the Broadway play Magic/Bird, and join the show's cast and producers during a post-show Q&A session.

Event tickets are limited, and may not even be available. Call Maccabi's Sara Feinstein at 215.561.6900 X119 or email sfeinstein@maccabiusa.com for information. 

Dolph Schayes Timeless Treasures CardBoth Dolph and Danny have an extensive catalogue of collectibles -- including autographed and unsigned cards, jerseys, photos, figurines, etc.

Beckett.com lists 238 cards, including autographed and limited edition cards, for Dolph. Danny has nearly 100 different collectibles listed on Beckett.com.

Danny Schayes National Treasures CardCollectors can buy Dolph's cards and memorabilia in the Beckett Marketplace and eBay by following these links.

Follow these links to Beckett Marketplace and eBay for Danny's collectibles.

Do you have any of the father-son Jewish basketball legends' cards or memorabilia in your collection? Anyone planning to splurge on tonight's event?

Let JewishSportsCollectibles.com know by commenting below.