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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.


Jewish Gymnast Aly Raisman 'Dancing With the Stars'

Raisman Montage eBay
Aly Raisman Olympic montage photo. Photo courtesy of eBay.
Aly Raisman – the Jewish gymnast who captained the 2012 U.S. Women's Gymnastics Olympics team in London, earned a gold medal for her floor routine choreographed to Hava Nagilia (the celebratory Hebrew song that is a staple at bar mitzvahs and weddings), and honored the Israeli Olympians slain at the 1972 Munich Olympics – is currently competing on ABC's Dancing With the Stars.

As captain of the “Fierce Five,” Raisman was a media darling before the start of The Games, and her star rose further with each metal-winning performance.

In addition to her gold medal for floor exercises at the London Games, the first ever gold in the event for an American female gymnast in the event in Olympic history, Raisman earned gold with the U.S. Team in the all-around competition, the first for the U.S. Women since 1996, and a bronze metal for her individual performance on the balance beam.

Collectors of Jewish Olympic memorabilia have access to a wide range of Raisman collectibles.

Her cards (visit Beckett.com for a more inclusive checklist) include:

  • A 2012 Topps Olympics issue, including parallel, autograph and memorabilia cards;
  • An ACEO trading card;
  • A limited edition FA Productions Olympic preview card;
  • and, a 1/1 artist sketch card by an illustrator known as "Q."

Aly Raisman Sketch Card  FA Productions Raisman Card  ACEO Card  Aly Raisman Topps Olympics

Aly Raisman Topps Olympics Memorabilia Card
Aly Raisman Topps Olympics memorabilia card. Photo courtesy
of eBay.
Raisman's 2012 Topps Olympic autographed editions offer a variety of different limited edition printings. The Rainbow (one-of-a-kind) Gold (limited to 15), Silver (30) and Bronze (50) versions. The Topps memorabilia cards include feature Olympic pins, American flag patches and swatches of fabric from competition-worn leotards.

Raisman's cards sell for a little as a few dollars to as much as $200 in the Beckett Marketplace, Amazon and eBay, depending on the variation and scarcity of the card a collector is seeking. 

Other Raisman memorabilia includes a variety of unsigned and autographed photos, available on eBay and Amazon.com. These include group and individual photos, candid and action shots. As always, buyer beware when purchasing signed items from the auction or retail giants.

Aly Raisman SI Cover
"Fierce Five" SI Cover. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.

Raisman and her Olympic teammates are featured on the cover of the July 23, 2012 issue of Sports Illustrated (see JSC.com's previous posting for a list of other Jews to grace the cover of SI).

Back issues of SI can be purchased on eBay and Amazon.com. Reproduction covers were not available for purchase on SI.com as of this posting, but should be in the near future.

Raisman Daily News Cover Haaretz
Aly Raisman NY Post Cover. Photo courtesy of NYPost.com.

The Jewish gymnast also graces the cover of the August 8, 2012 issue of the New York Post. The paper carries the headline "Star of David: Jewish girl wins gold, honors slain Israeli Olympians.

eBay or Amazon.com are the most likely source of back issues of the newspaper. eBay or Amazon are likely your best source for finding back issues.

Named as a "Bostonian of the Year" in 2012 by the Boston Globe, Raisman was honored at a Red Sox game last year, where she threw out the first pitch. Raisman autographed baseballs sell for between $100 and $200 on eBay.

A wide variety of other Olympic memorabilia, including a "Got Milk ad" picturing Raisman and other Olympians, tickets, programs, books (including The Fab Five) and DVDs are also available.

Raisman participated in the 2012 Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions. Tickets and programs from the tour are no doubt obtainable, and Raisman and her fellow Olympians were featured on Corn Flakes box put out by the cereal company. Boxes featuring Raisman can be found on eBay occassionally. 

Aly Raisman Pandora Ad
Aly Raisman Pandora ad. Photo courtesy of Aly Raisman/
Facebook.com.

Raisman has endorsement deals with, among others, Pandora. She is featured in the jewelry company ads, which some Jewish Olympics enthusiasts might want to add to their ephemera collections.

An active social media user, anyone wanting to "collect" bits and bytes in the forms of posts and tweets can follow Raisman on Facebook and Twitter.  

Do you have any Raisman memorabilia in your Jewish Olympics collection? What's your favorite piece? Have any JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers had a chance to meet the Olympic star or obtain her autograph? 

Let JSC know by commenting below.

***

 


Josh Zeid's WBC Cleats Sell for $105.50

Josh Zeid Cleats

Two bidders duked it out to own pitcher Josh Zeid's game used cleats, worn by the Team Israel pitcher in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifiers.

The winning bidder paid $105.50 for the shoes, which Zeid, a prospect in the Houston Astro's minor league system, signed. He also included a photo of himself wearing the shoes while pitching in the WBC.

Josh Zeid
Josh Zeid.
Photo courtesy of MiLB.com.
The cleats were being sold by "stvufit" on eBay. Starting bid was $75, with shipping priced at $4.99. The auction ran through Saturday, October 6, 2012. According to the listing, 50 percent of the sale's total price will be given to Texas Children's Hospital.

Zeid confirmed ownership of the cleats to JewishSportsCollectibles.com via Twitter, telling JSC that he wore the shoes during the last two games in the qualifiers, both against Spain.

Josh Zeid Twitter
I'm not one for game used memorabilia, but I think Zeid's cleats would have made a unique addition to my Jewish baseball collection. Unfortunately, even at $100, the price was too much for my collecting budget. 
What do you think? Let JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers know by commenting below.

Adam Greenberg: One More At-Bat

Adam Greenberg
Adam Greenberg.
Photo courtesy of PalmBeachPost.com.
Adam Greenberg will get one more at-bat, becoming a once -- and once again -- Jewish Major Leaguer!

The Miami Marlins (coincidentally, owned by MOT Jeffrey Loria) have signed the former JMLer -- who's previous big league career consisted of being hit in the head by the first pitch he saw -- to a one game contract.

Greenberg will play for the Marlins tonight, in their second-to-last game, against the New York Mets, on Tuesday, October 2.

The move is, clearly, a publicity stunt by the Marlins, a team that has had a disastrous season, and is generating as many cries about the "integrity of the game" as it is cheers for Greenberg.

ESPN originally reported that Marlin's manager Ozzie Guillen would start Greenberg in the outfield and have him lead-off the bottom of the first inning against Met's 20-game winner and knuckle ball phenom R.A. Dickey, after which Guillen would remove Greenberg from the game.

Guillen, perhaps feeling the pressures of critics, now says he doesn't have a specific plan in mind for Greenberg's at bat.

"I'm going to manage my team to win the game. I'll figure out how to play him. ... We shouldn't have any problems. ...I think if the kid gets a hit in the first at-bat, he might get another one."

True to his nature, Greenberg is taking the publicity in stride. He's being a mensch about the Marlin's contract, donating his one day's pay (about $2,600) to the Marlin's charitable foundation. The Marlins, in turn, are donating the to the Sports Legacy Institute, a group that studies traumatic brain injuries in athletes, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Greenberg, who was a last minute addition to the Team Israel roster -- replacing the injured Gabe Kapler -- was extended the Marlin's contract offer just hours after Team Israel lost to Spain in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers finals.

Days later, he was sharing the news of his second chance on The Today Show. If you haven't had the chance to see it, I've included the video below. I defy you not to get goose bumps!

 ***

Jewish baseball collectors have access to a number of Greenberg cards and collectibles, despite -- and possibly because of -- the extreme brevity of his major league career.

Adam Greenberg UD
Adam Greenberg 2002 Upper Deck Future Gems. Photo courtesy of
Joshua Platt.
Greenberg is featured on nearly three dozen different baseball cards, including minor and major league issues, according to Beckett.com. These include a 2002 Upper Deck Prospect Premiere issue, and 2004 Topps Total and Bowman rookie cards, including Chrome, Refractor and autographed iterations from Bowman.
 
Adam Greenberg Daytona Cubs
Adam Greenberg Daytona Cubs card. Photo courtesy of eBay.
Greenberg's minor league issues include 2003 and 2004 Daytona Beach Cubs, 2005 and 2006 West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx cards.

Adam played several seasons for the independent league Bridgeport Bluefish. I could find no independent league baseball cards while searching eBay for Bridgeport Bluefish team cards. The team's online store does not offer cards for sale. My calls to the team to inquire about Greenberg's cards have not been returned. Does anyone know if Adam is featured on any Blueffish pasteboard?

Greenberg also has cards in the 2008 and 2010 Jewish Major Leaguers sets, and is likely to have more JML baseball cards available in the near future, as a result of his play for Team Israel and the signing by the Marlins.

As previously reported by JewishSportsCollectibles.com, Martin Abramowitz, publisher of the Jewish Major Leaguer card series, said in early August post on Team Israel's Facebook page that he plans to include an Israel WBC card in a planned 2015 JML edition. I hope there will also be a card featuring Greenberg in his Marlin's gear.

Adam Greenberg JML Card
Adam Greenberg JML card. Photo courtesy of Joshua Platt.
All of Greenberg's cards are readily available on eBay, the Becket Marketplace and Amazon.com. They generally sell for between $3-5 for singles, with some minor league team issues and the Chrome, Refractor and autographed Bowman cards costing between $5-10.

The publicity surrounding Greenberg's appearance means more of his cards are for sale, but it is also driving up prices on all of his memorabilia. During the WBC, Greenberg's cards were selling at about 50% of their prices today. I expect the prices will drop to more reasonable levels when the hype surrounding Adam's appearance tonight cools.

Beyond his baseball cards, there is not much Greenberg memorabilia listed on eBay, as of this posting. 

Other items include several autographed baseballs and photos, and a cracked Greenberg model bat, listed as game-used (as always, buyers beware!). There is also a generic University of North Carolina replica jersey (Greenberg played college ball for the Tar Heels).

I suspect more collectibles will become available on eBay following Adam's appearance tonight. These include game tickets, programs, score cards, photos, etc.

Certainly other Greenberg memorabilia exists, although I could find little.

Greenberg NYT Photo
Adam Greenberg during Spring Training 2005. Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images, courtesy of NYTimes.com.

There are no photos of Greenberg in the MLB Photo Store, as of this posting.

Again, I presume the Marlins and Major League Baseball will embrace the PR buzz associated with Adam's return to the Bigs, and that numerous photos will become available.

The New York Times ran a beautiful image on Greenberg recently, but it is not for sale through the Times' online store. Here, again, I expect additional images to follow with the flood of coverage that Adam's story is generating.

One At Bat Adam Greenberg Poster
One At Bat poster.
Photo courtesy of OneAtBat.com.
Greenberg's feel good comeback was made possible, in part, by an online petition from sports documentary film maker Matt Liston, who spearheaded The "One At Bat" campaign, as described in the Today Show story.

Collectors can download and print a One At Bat poster from the campaign's web site. The poster, while visually arresting, does not feature Greenberg's likeness. It would, in my opinion, make an intriguing addition to any Greenberg collection, regardless.

Anyone interested can also follow Adam's story in video clips posted to Liston's YouTube channel. Does saving online video clips count as "collecting"? If so, start your hard drives!

Greenberg's saga is recounted in several Jewish baseball books, for collectors who prefer to keep their memorabilia on the book shelf.

These include Jewish Major Leaguers in Their Own WordsJews and Baseball: Volume 2, The Post-Greenberg Years, 1949-2008, and The Baseball Talmud: The Definitive Position-by-Position Ranking of Baseball's Chosen Players, all of which are available on Amazon.

Greenberg is a generous in-person signer and welcomes interactions with his Jewish fan base, as detailed in Jewish Major Leaguers in Their Own Words. It has been my experience that Adam is also a willing respondent to through-the-mail requests for his autographs. I'm proud to have several of Greenberg's autographed cards in my Jewish baseball collection.

***

What Adam Greenberg memorabilia have I overlooked? Do you have any Greenberg collectibles in your Jewish baseball collection? What's your favorite piece? Are you attending tonight's game?

Share your thoughts and photos with JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers by commenting below.


Own Josh Zeid's Team Israel WBC Cleats


Josh Zeid Cleats
Josh Zeid cleats. Photo courtesy of eBay.

Just a week after Team Israel's heartbreaking extra innings loss to Spain in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifiers, Jewish baseball collectors have the opportunity to own game used cleats from one of the team's top pitcher.


Josh Zeid
Josh Zeid.
Photo courtesy
of MiLB.com.
Pitcher Josh Zeid, a prospect in the Houston Astro's minor league system, is selling a pair of his Team Israel cleats.

The cleats are being sold by "stvufit" on eBay. Starting bid is $75. Shipping is priced at $4.99. The auction runs through Saturday, October 6, 2012.

The listing says 50 percent of total price paid will be donated to charity, though it doesn't specify which organization.

Israel Baseball League veteran and Team Israel bullpen catcher Nate Fish maintains a blog, called The King of Jewish Baseball. According to Fish's "The Gear" video posting, each Team Israel WBC player was issued one pair of blue Under Armour cleats. Apparently, however, not every player wore the official issue cleats during game play.

The cleats up for bid at New Balance shoes. They match a pair of cleats shown in the background of a picture of Zeid on Fish's blog

Josh Zeid locker room
Josh Zeid in the Team Israel locker room.
Photo courtesy of http://kingofjewishbaseball.wordpress.com.

Further, they match the cleats worn in a picture of Zeid pitching Friday, September 21 victory over Spain that is posted on the Israel Baseball Facebook page

Josh Zeid Pitching
Josh Zeid pitching for Team Israel. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Adding to the authenticity of the shoes is the fact that the sale of the cleats was promoted by Team Israel on it's Facebook page, in a September 30 posting.

Josh Zeid Cleats Posting
Team Israel Facebook posting about Josh Zeid's cleats. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com.

And, most important in determining the provenance of the cleats is the fact that Zeid himself confirmed ownership of the cleats to JewishSportsCollectibles.com via Twitter.

The pitcher says he wore the shoes during the last two games in the qualifiers, both against Spain, adding that he would sign a photo of himself pitching, and wearing the shoes, for the winning bidder.

Josh Zeid Twitter
Josh Zeid Twitter conversation, confirming provanance of his WBC cleats.
Photo courtesy of HootSuite.com.

So, if you have cash to spare, and want to own a pair of size 13 cleats used by a Team Israel pitcher in the World Baseball Classic as part of your Jewish baseball memorabilia collection, bid away!