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.
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.
"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."
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
The most notable, however, of Robinson's Jewish opponents was Hank Greenberg.
Robinson faced Greenberg during Robinson's 1947 rookie season and Greenberg's last season as a player.
Pee Wee Reese puts an arm around Jackie Robinson in 42. Photo courtesy of IMDB.com.
A touching scene in 42 shows Dodger captain Pee Wee Reese placing an arm around Robinson on May 13, 1947 at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, comforting Robinson while fans hurled racial epitaphs. The tear-jerking scene is given the full Hollywood treatment, and is a high point of the movie. According to ESPN.com, however, it may not have happened as depicted in the film.
What happened on May 15, when Brooklyn played against Pittsburgh -- Greenberg's team -- that year is clear.
"The most dramatic
display of Jewish solidarity with Jackie Robinson came from Hank
Greenberg. The legendary Detroit Tiger slugger who hit 58 home runs in 1938, then
with the Pittsburgh Pirates in his last season, was the first opposing player to
offer Robinson encouragement. Probably no major leaguer before Robinson
had been more abused by opposing players and fans than Greenberg, who was
continually taunted for being Jewish.
"On May 15, 1947,
in a game between the Pirates and the Dodgers, Robinson laid down a
perfect bunt and streaked down the line to first. The pitcher’s
throw pulled first
baseman Greenberg off the bag. Reaching for the throw, he collided with Robinson, who
was able to get up and reach second. The next inning Greenberg walked,
and asked Robinson, who was playing first base, if he had been hurt in the
collision. Assured by Robinson that he hadn’t been, Greenberg said to him, 'Don’t pay any attention to these guys who are trying to make it
hard for you. Stick in
there ... . I hope you and I can get together for a talk. There are a few things I’ve
learned down through the years that might help you and make it easier.'"
Despite wide coverage of the episode at the time it took place -- Robinson old the New York Times, “Class tells. It sticks out all over Mr. Greenberg.” -- the conversation between Robinson and Greenberg is given scant attention by Robinson's biographers.
Hank Greenberg: The Story of My Life. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.
"Here were our guys, a bunch of ignorant, stupid Southerners who couldn't speak properly ... and all they could do was make jokes about Jackie. The couldn't recognize that they had a special person in front of them. ... I identified with Jackie Robinson. I had feelings for him because they had treated me the same way. Not as bad, but they made remarks about my being a sheenie and a Jew all the time."
Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.
As of the time of this posting, no Beckett Marketplace seller is offering the card. Prices, when collectors can find the Fleer cards on eBay or Amazon, range from $10-$100 or more, depending on the scarcity of the particular issue.
While potentitally difficult and costly to obtain, the Robinson pants/Greenberg bat variation (which saw a limited production of just 50 cards) would represent a jewel in the crown of any Jewish baseball card collector, in my opinion.
The only problem with the card is that it depicts Greenberg in his Detroit Tigers uniform. Greenberg, of course, played for the Pirates when he faced Robinson, and for the Tigers for years prior to Robinson's major league debut. As such, Greenberg as a Tiger was never a "rival" of Robinson's.
Even with this historical inaccuracy, I think the card is a terrific addition to any Jewish baseball collection.
Hank Greenberg Jackie Robinson JML card. Photo courtesy of JSC.
The Jewish Major Leaguers card is much more accessible to buyers who don't have deep pockets.
Card #50 in the 2008 "Hank Greenberg 75th Anniversary Edition of the JML series, titled "An Encounter," can be found on Amazon
At the time of this posting, no Beckett Marketplace or eBay sellers were offering the 2008 JML card.
42, American Jews and America's Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball, Going to Bat for Jackie Robinson: The Jewish Role in Breaking Baseball's Color Line, Hammerin' Hank Greenberg, Hank Greenberg, Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes, Hank Greenberg: The Hero Who Didn't Want to Be One, Hank Greenberg: The Story of My Life, Jackie Robinson, Jewish baseball, Jewish Major Leaguers in Their Own Words, JewishSportsCollectibles.com, Jews And Baseball, Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story, Life And Times of Hank Greenberg, Pee Wee Reese, The Baseball Talmud, The Big Book of Jewish Baseball, Two Pioneers: How Hank Greenberg and Jackie Robinson Transformed Baseball - and America, When Jackie and Hank Met