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Gary Bettman, Don Fehr and the NHL Freeze Out

Gary Bettman
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.
Two Jews are at the center of the freeze out between National Hockey League owners and players, as the two parties have failed to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement, again, leading to yet another a work stoppage for hockey.

Don Fehr
Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHLPA. Photo by Chris Young/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is Jewish.

So, too, is Donald Fehr, the executive director of the NHL Players Association and the former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Bettman memorabilia is scant, but not scarce.

Beckett.com show no cards for the hockey commish.

Dozens of Bettman photos, autographed and unsigned, are available on eBay. Autographed images bring $15-$65, depending on the image and authenticator associated with the listing.

Gary Bettman Signed Puck
Gary Bettman signed hockey puck. Photo courtesy of eBay.
There are also several pucks inked by the hocky commissioner available for bid, as well as a "Bettman Sucks" hockey puck decal protesting the lockout. These stickers will prove more popular with fans than with hockey's corner office, no doubt.

Bettman detractors can pair thier Bettman Sucks decal with an explicit MP3 download, F%*k Gary Bettman, available on Amazon.com.
Gary Bettman Book
The Instigator How Gary Bettman Remade the NHL and Changed the Game Forever. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.
Less offensive Amazon offerings include Bettman signed photos and books.

Bettman is the subject of a biography, The Instigator: How Gary Bettman Remade the NHL and Changed the Game Forever, due out on October 15, 2012.
Bettman is also the author of the foreward to The Official Treasures of NHL Hockey

Fehr also has little in the way of collectibles, as detailed in this JewishSportsCollectibles.com posting written when the former MLBPA exec traded his baseball cleats for hockey skates

Don Fehr JML Card
Don Fehr 2012 JML card.
Photo courtesy of Joshua Platt.

Although Beckett.com shows no cards having been issued for Fehr, Jewish baseball collectors know better.

Fehr is, in fact, featured in the Jewish Major Leaguers sets.

Ferh appears in the 2007 edition on card 45, which he shares with former MLBPA executive director Marvin Miller, and in the 2010 issue, on card 44, with Miller and current MLBPA exec Michael Weiner.

A search of eBay turned up very little memorabilia for Fehr. At the time of this posting, only the JML card and a signed baseball were listed on the auction giant, which is also available for purchase on Amazon.

Certainly, patient collectors will, over time, find other Fehr collectibles for sale on eBay

Don Fehr Letter
Donald Fehr signed letter. Photo courtesy of Joshua Platt.
As the former head of labor relations for baseball, Fehr is the subject of numerous books written on the subject available on Amazon.com. These include Marvin Miller's A Whole Different Ball Game: The Inside Story of the Baseball Revolution, Getting On Base: Unionism in Baseball and Swings and Misses: Moribund Labor Relations in Professional Baseball.

Fehr was a reluctant, but accomodating through-the-mail signer in the past. I've got an autographed letter, on MLBPA letterhead, from the player rep in my collection.

Can the hockey collectors out there add to the list of Bettman and Fehr memorabilia? Have you had any experiences in acquiring Bettman or Fehr's autographs, either in person or via mail?

Share your thoughts with other JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers by commenting below.

You can also keep up with the latest news about the hockey labor freeze on Google News, the NHLPA and the NHL news feeds.


Selig Marks 20 Years As Baseball's Commissioner

September 10, 2012 marks the 20 anniversary of Allan H. "Bud" Selig's election as the ninth commissioner of baseball, as reported by Len Berman's That's Sports.

As detailed in a 2011 post about the Jewish executives and labor leaders in major sports, Commissioner Selig has a variety of cards and memorabilia available to Jewish baseball collectors.

Bud Selig signed HeroDeck card
Bud Selig signed HeroDeck playing card. Photo courtesy of Joshua Platt.
Selig's cards, according to Beckett.com, These include cut signature and autograph cards from Fleer and Upper Deck. He's also got a Hero Deck playing card bearing his caricature, a Wisconsin Historical Museum issue (#63 in the series honoring the 1957 Braves), and Jewish Major Leaguers cards (2006, #43, 2010, #43).

The JML cards sell for $5-10. I've seen the Wisconsin Museum card listed on eBay for $3. The playing card is available for around $2. None of these cards are, unfortunately, listed in the Beckett Marketplace.

Selig has been a willing through the mail signer, in the past. He signed my Hero Deck card and enclosed a signed business card in response to my letter requesting his autograph.

Selig statuette
Bud Selig Statue SGA. Photo courtesy of eBay.
Selig is also memorialized in bronze, with a statue in his likeness having recently been unveiled outside of Miller Park. The St. Paul Saints issued a "Best Bud" statuette to commemorate the occasion. The stadium give-away was limited to 2,500, and is selling for $10 and up on eBay

A search of eBay this morning shows a variety of other Selig memorabilia available.

Selig Signed Check
Bud Selig signed check. Photo courtesy of eBay.
This includes ten Brewers checks signed by Selig as team owner. I've got only one signed check in my collection (from Negro Leagues female player Toni Stone), but I find these fascinating collectibles. The signature is almost guaranteed to be authentic, and the payee/payor information offers a snapshot of a single moment in history.

Also available for bid on eBay are bats, baseball cards, balls, photos, magazines and programs, business cards, mini helmets and letters signed by the Commissioner. There's also a 2010 Brewers program available from the game at which the statue of Selig was dedicated in Milwaukee.

In The Best Interests of Baseball
In The Best Interests of Baseball, by Andrew Zimbalist. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.
Amazon.com shows more than two dozen books featuring Selig. These include In the Best Interests of Baseball: The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig by Jewish sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, as well as other books dealing with baseball's commissioners, labor relations and business models.

Collectors can also find autographed baseballs, photos and business cards inked by Selig, along with a song titled, Bud Selig (Shake & Bake) (warning, this song has explicit lyrics), on Amazon

Selig's facsimile signature is, of course, on every official Major League Baseball. I'd love to add a signed Selig OML ball to my collection. Does anyone have one?

What other Bud Selig memorabilia do you have in your Jewish baseball collection? Have you had the chance to meet the Commish? Share your thoughts with other JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers by commenting below.


Minor League Mensch Mail


Brett Lorin
Brett Lorin signed card and note. Photo courtesy of Joshua Platt.
As the 2012 minor league baseball season was winding down, I completed a mailing to nearly three dozen Jewish minor leaguers. Using the JewishBaseballNews.com Players List as a guide, I mailed baseball cards and Signature Cards from The Autograph Card company to 34 players between August 20-22.

I've received 14 responses back from players, as of September 7.

These include a signed 2009 Midwest League All Star card from Brett Lorin that came with a note, written on a scrap of what I presume to be my request letter. The note reads: "Lecheim! Haha. Thanks." Interesting.

I've also received an autographed Signature Card and Draft Pick Signature card from Zach Borenstein, brother of Jews In Baseball blogger, Josh Borenstein.

What struck me as most impressive, though, were envelopes I received back on August 31 from three minor league mensches.

David Colvin of the Clintonville LumbuerKings, and Zach Kapstein and Jadd Schmeltzer of the Lowell Spinners each autographed the Signature Cards I'd included with my letters. Each of the players also included an autographed 2012 Grandstand team set baseball card with their response. 

That's classy! Thanks, guys.

                             Jadd Schmeltzer  Zach Kapstein  David Colvin

Have you had any success mailing to Jewish major or minor leaguers this season? What's your favorite "'graphing get"? Share your successes with JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers by commenting on this post below.


Jewish World Series MVP Profile: Sandy Koufax

JewishSportsCollectibles.com previously published an overview of some of 1959 World Series MVP Larry Sherry's collectibles.

Today, as part of JewishSportsCollectible's profiles of Jewish World Series Most Valuable Player Award winners, we look at some of the trading cards and memorabilia of Sandy Koufax, the Hall of Famer pitcher who won the World Series Most Valuable Player in 1963 and 1965.

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Collectors seeking Koufax cardboard have a wide variety of options.

Beckett.com lists 947 different Koufax cards in its online checklists. The Koufax card catalogue includes dozens of modern commemoratives that book for a few bucks, as well as vintage pasteboard and modern autograph inserts that can set you back thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars.

Sandy Koufax 1955 Topps RCThe lefty's interesting cards include:

  • Koufax's Topps 1955 rookie and 1956 cards. Both feature beautiful designs and were among Topps' "All Time Fan Favorites" cards, as mentioned in a previous JSC.com posting.

    Expect to pay big bucks for these cards, if you value high grades. Pristine Koufax pasteboard has gaveled for $40,000+, according to the Sports Collectors Digest Auction Database.
  • Sandy Koufax 2000 UD MasterThe 2000 Upper Deck issued the Brooklyn Dodgers "Master Collection," a limited edition,15-card set numbered to 250 and 11 memorabilia chase cards.

    The Koufax memorabilia card (LOF 11) includes an action shot of Koufax in full windup, over the exterior of Ebbett's Field. It includes an autograph and a swatch of one of the hall of famer's game-used jerseys. The card sells for $800-$1,800 on eBay.

Koufax also has a card in the 2003 debut Jewish Major Leaguers card set. His card is, in fact, the first  in the set (JML 2003, #1). Like the lefty's other cardboard, the Koufax JML single commands a premium. The standard issue card sells for nearly $20 on eBay. Collectors should expect to pay as much as $65 for the gold limited edition card.

Sandy Koufax Signed BallDespite the southpaw's notable public reclusiveness, there is no shortage of Koufax autographed baseballs on the market, for collectors wanting to put a signed orb on their mantle or in their display case.

Steiner Sports (fair warning: you'll inexcusably, in my opinion, be required to enter your email address in order to view the Steiner website!) offers five varieties of Koufax autographed balls, including signed balls with World Series, Perfect Game and Cy Young inscriptions, for $500-$1,000.

Amazon.com sellers offer more than 150 different Koufax autographed baseballs, including those offered by Steiner, Upper Deck and balls authenticated by James Spence and PSA/DNA. Cost varies widely by seller and inscription, but expect to pay at least $300.

Koufax signed jerseys -- both autographed and unsigned -- are also available on Amazon.com. Unsigned replica jerseys start at $75. Mounted Memories offers Koufax autographed jerseys -- including Mitchell & Ness home and away jerseys with a variety of inscriptions -- both on its site and Amazon. Prices range from $800-$1,000. 

Vintage Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers team- and multi-signed jerseys, balls and bats occasionally come up for regularly bid at the marquee action houses. Given collector demand and the other Hall of Famers on the Dodgers squad, these always realize premium prices.

Heritage Auctions Koufax 1966 WS GloveIt's rare, however, to see a Koufax game-used jersey or glove on the auction market. And, when such items do go under gavel, they've commanded high-five- and even six-figure bids.

Heritage Auctions Koufax JerseyKoufax's signed 1966 World Series game-used leather -- which the pitcher autographed, inscribed and gifted to umpire Doug Harvey -- hammered for $107,550 during Heritage Auction Galleries' April 23-24, 2009 sale.

One of Koufax's signed, 1957 game-worn Brooklyn Dodgers road jersey gaveled for $77,675 during the September 11, 2004 sale by Heritage. A jersey like this would almost certainly realize more money now than it did 7 years ago, despite today's bleak economy.

If you like your collectibles hanging on the wall, there are numerous Koufax photos and artwork available for purchase.

 

Koufax No Hitter Steiner Photo

Koufax No Hitter Upper Deck Photo
Steiner Sports
 offers 15 Koufax photos. Expect to pay between $699-$1,400 for the unframed, autographed, 16X20 black and white images.

The same Steiner memorabilia is also available on Amazon.com. Purchasing through the Internet superstore can save budget-crunched collectors a few sheckels (as much as $150!).

Also available on Amazon.com are several Upper Deck Authenticated images of the southpaw, including the signed photo of Koufax celebrating his fourth no hitter shown to the right above. 

The autographed displays will set you back approximately $1,000. Sandy Koufax Leroy Neiman

Koufax is also the subject of a well-known Leroy Neiman serigraph, pictured at right. Expect to pay $2,000-$6,000 on eBay for the print. Collectors with modest budgets can occassionaly find promotional postcards for the serigraph for about $10 on eBay .

The Hall of Famer has been pictured on the cover of Sports Illustrated six times, as detailed in this previous JewishSportsCollectibles posting. Originals, some autographed, can be found on Amazon.com and eBay. Sports Illustrated's Classic Cover Collection sells reproductions.

For Jewish collectors who prefer their memorabilia hardbound, Koufax is featured in hundreds of books. 

These include Jane Leavy's iconic 2002 biography, Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy, and the critically acclaimed kids book, You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!

Koufax is also graces the pages of Day by Day in Jewish Sports HistoryThe Baseball Talmud: The Definitive Position-by-Position Ranking of Baseball's Chosen Players and is the cover photo on The Big Book of Jewish Baseball and Jews and Baseball: Volume 2, The Post-Greenberg Years, 1949-2008.

I've touched on just a few of the tomes in which Koufax is the subject. Amazon.com lists 1,3254 titles for Koufax. What books do you have on your shelf? What's your favorite Koufax book? 

Last but not least, Koufax is featured prominently in the documentary film Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story. The movie (check out the JSC.com review) includes vintage game footage of Koufax and a rare interview with the pitcher. Collectors can purchase the DVD from JewishMajorLeaguers.org or on the documentary's website, which also offers posters, baseball caps, t-shirts and other tchotchkes

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Koufax is considered hobby royalty, by both Jewish and non-Jewish baseball collectors. No doubt, this posting has overlooked and omitted some of the Hall of Famer's memorabilia. What have I missed?

What's your most valued Koufax collectible? Have you been fortunate enough to have meet the hall of famer in the past? Do you have a Koufax signature in your autograph collection?

Leave a comment below to share with JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers.

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I'd hoped to complete all of the profiles of the Jewish World Series MVPs during the World Series. This review of Sandy Koufax's collectibles took longer than expected, however, given the breadth of his available memorabilia.

While it may publish after the Series is over (come on Feldman and Kinsler!), stay tuned for a posting in the coming days on the cards and memorabilia of Steve Yeager -- who converted to Judaism after his career. 


The Jewish Impact On 'Moneyball'

Moneyball Jonah Hill The recent opening of Moneyball, the new Jonah Hill/Brad Pitt movie – based the Michael Lewis book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game – got me thinking about baseball statistics.

The chronicling and analysis of players' on-field exploits has some rich, and decidedly Jewish roots, and offers a fascinating niche for collectors.

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Sports most-recognized statisticians, The Elias Sports Bureau, was founded by Jews.

Brothers Al Munro Elias and Walter Elias began selling baseball scorecards in 1913 and grew their family business into a company known as "the world's foremost sports statisticians and historians."

Elias Sports Bureau LogoElias is now the official statistician for MLB, the NFL, NBA, WNBA, NHL and provides date to ESPN, hundreds of newspapers, magazines and web sites, and numerous sports broadcasters.

Burton and Benita Boxerman's Jews And Baseball: Volume I: Entering the American Mainstream, 1871-1948 devotes a fascinating chapter to the Elias brothers.

Elias Sports Bureau Signed Check Vintage copies of the company's annual The Little Red Book,The Pocket Cyclopedia of Major League Baseball, and Green Book make wonderful additions to Jewish baseball collectors' shelves.

Collectors willing to spend $295 on eBay have the opportunity to own a 1923 Chicago Cubs check to the Elias Sports Bureau endorsed by Al and Walter. A Walter Elias signed letter on company letterhead is available for $125 on the auction portal.

Al Elias Obak Baseball Card For collectors with more modest budgets interested in owning Elias memorabilia, the 2010 Obak baseball card issue includes an Al Elias card (#72). These sell for less than $3 on eBay and the Beckett Marketplace.

Do you have any Elias memorabilia in your collection? If so, what is your most treasured piece?

Also, does anyone know if Seymour "Sy" Siwoff, who took over management of the company when the Elias brothers stepped back, was Jewish? How about current Elias exec Steve Hirdt?

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Fast forward to Brooklyn in 1947 and you'll find the next Jewish link in the "moneyball" chain.

Allan Roth That's when Dodgers owner Branch Rickey hired Allan Roth as the first full-time statistician in baseball. The Montreal Native and member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, pioneered the importance of on-base percentage, RBI percentage and pitch counts. He worked for the Dodgers, provided stats for radio and TV broadcasts, and edited Who's Who In Baseball.

Collectors seeking Roth memorabilia have a variety of options.

An eBay search shows vintage issues of Who's Who, '50s era Dodgers statistics guides (which the seller says come from Roth's personal collection - the seller has 100% positive feedback, but buyer beware), several vintage photo negatives, and program from Roth's 2010 induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

As they did for the Elias Brothers in their first Jews and Baseball volume, the Boxerman's devote a chapter to Roth in Jews and Baseball: Volume 2, The Post-Greenberg Years, 1949-2008 (check out JewishSportsCollectibles.com review of the book).

Roth is also featured on a Jewish Major Leaguers card (2007, #39). Beckett shows no other pasteboard for the master statistician.

I bought one of the photos of Roth that I found on eBay while researching this posting. I'm proud to add the piece to my Jewish baseball collection. What Roth memorabilia do you have in your's?

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Moving into the modern era, we arrive at the Boston Red Sox c-suite. The office that Theo Epstein calls home (for now).

According to the article "The Art Of Winning An (even More) Unfair Game," a in the September 26 issue of Sports Illustrated, Moneyball author Michael Lewis approached Epstein about including the Sox in his book. Epstein balked at the idea, not wanting to share his methods with the rest of baseball. Epstein, in fact, thought the A's Billy Beane was giving away the recipe for the secret sauce. Using SABRmetrics, Epstein and the Red Sox won the team's first World Series since 1918.

Theo Epstein Topps Fan Favorite The Yale grad is featured several baseball cards. These include a 2004 Red Sox team card, 2005 Topps Fan Favorites, including autographed, color and printing plate variations, 2006 Topps Autographs. Epstein is also depicted in caricature on a Red Sox Hero Deck playing card.

The 2005 Topps Fan Favorite standard issue sells for as little as $0.29 in the Beckett Marketplace. The HeroDeck issue for $2-3.

eBay is ripe with Epstein memorabilia, including signed jerseys, bats, balls, and photos.

Epstein is also the subject of numerous books, available on Amazon. These include the biography, Theology: How A Boy Wonder Led The Red Sox To The Promised Land.

I have tried, unsuccessfully, to get Epstein to sign autographs through the mail. What have your experiences been in getting the Sox GM to sign? What memorabilia do you have in your collection? What's your favorite piece and why?

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Expanding the sphere of Jewish influence on, and use of SABRmetrics, you can add two recent books -- The Baseball Talmud and The Extra 2% -- to your shelves.

Howard Megdal's The Baseball Talmud: The Definitive Position-by-Position Ranking
of Baseball's Chosen Players
uses "moneyball" principals to provide a statistical analysis of the best Jewish baseball players of all time. The book is a must own for Jewish baseball collectors (in my humble opinion).

The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First examines how the Tampa Bay Rays -- and their Jewish ownership -- used SABRmetrics to stockpile high-value draft picks and minor league prospects and turn the Tampa team from perennial cellar dwellers into a respectable team that regularly makes the playoffs, despite competing against the Yankees ad Red Sox, teams with much great resources.

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Lastly, if Jonah Hill's status as Brad Pitt's co-star in the film is enough to qualify it as a Jewish baseball movie in your definition, Moneyball -- the movie itself -- offers collectors a bevy of interesting opportunities. Think movie posters, lobby cards, DVDs, publicity photos, entertainment magazines, etc.

Will you collect Moneyball the movie because of its Jewish co-star? What memorabilia do you want in your collection?