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Sports Illustrated Cover Jews

Updated April 4, 2013

Jewish sports collectors who want to build a library of Sports Illustrated issues with MOTs on the cover have more than two dozen items on their shelves.

Below is a (hopefully!) complete list of Jews on SI covers. Please note, this list includes athletes like David Beckham and Pete Sampras, who have Jewish heritage but may not themselves be practicing Jews. 



 Koufax SI Cover

Ron Blomberg
July 2, 1973

Ryan Braun
August 29, 2011
March 31, 2008

Sandy Koufax
March 4, 1963
April 13, 1964
December 20, 1965
May 15, 1967
July 12, 1999
October 9, 2006

Al Rosen

April 18, 1955



Duke cover
Art Heyman

October 28, 1963

Ernie Grunfeld
February 9, 1976

Jon Scheyer
April 12, 2010

Jamila Wideman
March 17, 1997



Art Modell SI Cover
Lyle Alzado

July 8, 1991

Jay Fiedler
October 1, 2001

Robert Kraft
February 6, 2012

Art Modell
December 4, 1995 



Matthieu Schneider
June 14, 1993



David Beckham
July 16, 2007



Boris Becker
September 18, 1989

Pete Sampras
July 11, 1994
July 14, 1997
September 17, 1990


Olympic Sports

Mark Spitz 1972 SI Cover
Sarah Hughes

March 4, 2002

Aly Raisman
July 23, 2012

Mark Spitz
July 22, 1968
September 4, 1972

Suzy Weiner (with Mark Spitz)
May 14, 1973



Howard Cosell SI Cover
Charles Goren
Oct. 14, 1957
May 23, 1960

Bob and Bus Mosbacher (sailing)
May 18, 1959

Toots Shor (restaurateur)
July 27, 1959

Howard Cosell (sportscaster)
August 8, 1983

Bar Refeali (swimsuit model)
February 11, 2009


Did I miss any Jewish SI cover figures ? Disagree with any of the listings? Let JewishSportsCollectibles.com know by commenting below.
Visit Sports Illustrated's Classic Cover Collection if you're interested in buying photo reproductions of any of the above Sports Illustrated covers. eBay and Amazon.com are a good source for purchasing hard copies of SI back issues.

Sidney Franklin, American Jewish Bullfighter

Sidney Franklin Photo
Sidney Franklin. Photo courtesy
of Amazon.com.
As I learned via a recent tweet from @JewsnSports, September 20, 1923 marked the ring debut of American Jewish matador Sidney Franklin.
Franklin is a fascinating, and controversial, sports figure -- and that's no bull!

Born Sidney Fromkin to Orthodox parents in Brooklyn, New York in 1903, Sidney ran away from home at age 18 to escape his abusive father, according to this biography in Great Jews In Sports.

Franklin started a poster business, producing artwork for bullfights. On something of a dare from a friend who believed that Americans couldn't be matadors, Franklin trained for his first bullfight, according to the Encyclopedia of Jews in Sports.

Thus began Franklin's colorful career. He fought in Mexico, then became the first American to fight in Spain, becoming a full matador in 1945. At his peak, Franklin made more than $100,000 a year as a bullfighter, according to Great Jews in Sports.

Franklin suffered for his sport, too. In 1930, Franklin was gored so severely that he required multiple surgeries to repair extensive injuries that left him near death and unable to fight for several years. He survived, only to "die in obscurity in 1976," according to the Jewish Daily Forward.

Franklin's life was lived in the spotlight, though. He met Ernest Hemingway and was immortalized in one of the writer's great works, was profiled in a masterful write-up in the New Yorker, published an autobiography and starred in a movie.

Curiously, for all his fame and self-promotion, the matador has never been inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame or the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.


Jewish sports collectors have access to a surprising amount of the bullfighters' memorabilia.

Sidney Franklin KTAV Card
Sidney Franklin KTAV Card. Photo courtesy of Joshua Platt.
Beckett.com shows one trading card for the Jewish matador, number 4 in the 1963 Jewish Sports Champions cards produced by KTAV published as part of an activity book by the same name. None of the individual cards are for sale in the Beckett Marketplace, however.

An eBay search at the time of this posting yields no Franklin KTAV cards and just one copy of the 1963 activity book, Jewish Sports Champions, in which the card is featured.

Amazon.com shows three listings for the Jewish Sports Champions book, though none of the listings make specific mention of the cards. Same for ABEbooks.com. Collectors interested in buying the book for the trading cards should, therefore, be careful.

Amazon.com does have a number of Franklin items available for purchase, other than the KTAV activity book.

These include photos of Franklin, along with coffee mugs and a jig saw puzzle bearing his image. 

Bull Fighter from Brooklyn
Bullfight from Brooklyn. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.
Also for sale on Amazon are copies of the matador's autobiography, Bullfighter from Brooklyn: An Autobiography of Sidney Franklin.

An article in the Jewish Daily Forward article about Franklin describes the bullfighter's autobiography as "self-promotional" and "largely fictitious."

I've not read the book, and am no expert on Franklin, so I cannot render critical judgement, one way or another. I would, however, suggest that any Franklin collection would be incomplete without the matador's own book. 

While I could find first editions of Franklin's book, I found no signed copies on AmazonABEbooks.com or eBay. Certainly autographed copies of Franklin's autobiography must exist. Do any JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers have one on their shelf?

Bart Paul's 2009 biography, Double-Edged Sword: The Many Lives of Hemingway's Friend, the American Matador Sidney Franklinprovides an outsider's look at Franklin's life. The book describes Franklin as "a gay man in the most masculine of worlds who triumphed over prejudice and adversity as he achieved what no American had ever accomplished, teaching even Hemingway lessons in grace, machismo, and respect." 

A well-written critical review of the book in the Jewish Daily Forward details the biography's short comings. These problems aside, Double-Edged Sword is, nevertheless, a must-have addition to any Franklin collection.

Double Edged Sword
Double Edged Sword. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.
As the Paul's title details, Franklin was a friend of Ernest Hemingway's. As such, the bullfighter also figures prominently in books by and about the famed author.

The most notable of these is Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon, in which "Papa" devotes an entire chapter to Franklin.

"Franklin is brave with a cold, serene and intelligent valor," writes Hemingway, "but instead of being awkward and ignorant he is one of the most skillful, graceful and slow manipulators of a cape fighting today."

As the Jewish Daily Forward review notes, Hemingway "overpraised" Franklin in the book, and the friendship between the author and bullfighter cooled shortly thereafter. This well-deserved criticism aside, Death In The Afternoon also makes a worthwhile addition to a collector's Franklin book shelf.

Franklin was profiled by the New Yorker magazine, in a piece hailed as some of the best sports writing in the magazine's history, according to Wikipedia. Collectors can read Lillian Ross's story about Franklin in The Only Game in Town: Sportswriting from The New Yorker

As mentioned above, Encyclopedia of Jews in Sports and Great Jews In Sports also contain biographies of Franklin. These books are worthy general additions to any Jewish sports memorabilia collection or library, well beyond their inclusion of the biographies they have of the matador. 

The Kid From Spain
The Kid From Spain. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.

According to the Jewish Daily Forward, Franklin appeared with Eddie Cantor in
The Kid From Spain, a comedy film "in which Franklin provides serious bullfighting expertise juxtaposed with Cantor’s clowning."

Critical reviews aside, a copy of Franklin's on screen appearance -- available on Amazon.com on DVD and VHS -- would make a nice addition to any collection of the matador's memorabilia.

A search of eBay for "Sidney Franklin bullfighter" or "Sidney Franklin bullfighting" yields numerous Franklin collectibles, in addition the above books and movies.

Bull Fighter From Brooklyn Comic Book
Sidney Franklin comic book. Photo courtesy
of eBay.
These include numerous vintage photos of Franklin and several newspapers reporting on the matador's exploits. Among the most interesting items are a 1920s promotional poster and a 1944 comic book.

Do you have any Sidney Franklin memorabilia in your Jewish sports collection? Share your thoughts with JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers by commenting below.



Author's note: Collectors who want to know more about Sidney Franklin,  should contact the American Jewish Historical Society in New York. AJHS maintains a Franklin archive. The collection consists of "photographs of Franklin performing in the bullring, or posing with Spanish and Latin American matadors or famous Americans ... . There are also audio recordings of Franklin, a film proposal, clippings and a copy of Franklin’s autobiography." According to AJHS, additional photographs of Franklin and correspondence between the bullfighter and Earnest Hemingway are housed in the Ernest Hemingway Papers at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.


Adam Greenberg Added to Team Israel Roster

Greenberg HBPFormer Jewish Major Leaguer Adam Greenberg has been added to the Team Israel roster for the qualifying rounds of the 2013 World Baseball Classic, according to a posting on Team Israel's Facebook page. Greenberg takes the roster spot of former JMLer Gabe Kapler, who sustained an injury.

Greenberg's story is widely known, but worth repeating.

A Cubs prospect, Greenberg was called up to the Major Leagues in July 7, 2005. Two days later, he was sent into a game against the Marlins to pinch hit.

As described by the New York Times, Greenberg was hit in the head by a 92-mile-per-hour fastball on the first pitch he saw.

"I didn't have a chance to swing," Greenberg recounted in Jewish Major Leaguers in Their Own Words: Oral Histories of 23 Players (which devotes an entire chapter to his story). "I didn't have a chance to swing, and it cracked me. ... I was conscious the whole time. I couldn't control my eyes. They rolled into the back of my head, but I was aware of everything that was going on, basically just trying to tell myself to stay alive and stay with it ... ."

The affects of the concussion Greenberg suffered from the beaning lasted for months, and he never made it back to the Big Leagues.

Greenberg has tried, unsuccessfully, to earn his way back to the majors. He played in the affiliated minor leagues and for the independent league Bridgeport Blue Fish for several years, retiring in 2011.

Sports documentary film maker Matt Liston recently spearheaded an online petition to try to get the Cubs to give Greenberg one more at bat. The "One At Bat" campaign, while dramatic and inspiring, unfortunately proved unsuccessful, with the Cubs denying the petition. The "One At Bat" video is available below. The piece is compelling, but watching Greenberg get beaned is unsettling, to say the least.

Playing for Team Israel could be Greenberg's last opportunity to showcase himself before major league scouts. Here's hoping Adam's time on the international stage earns him another shot at "The Show." And, let's offer a hearty yasher koach to Team Israel manager Brad Ausmus for the noble gesture. Here's also hoping that Kapler makes a full, and speedy, recovery from his injury.


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.

He also has cards in the 2008 and 2010 Jewish Major Leaguers card sets.

All of Greenberg's cards are readily available on eBay, the Becket Marketplace and Amazon.com. They generally sell for between $1-5 for singles, with some minor league team sets and the Chrome, Refractor and autographed Bowman cards costing a bit more. 

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.

Adam Greenberg JML Card
Adam Greenberg Jewish Major Leaguers card. Photo courtesy of
Joshua Platt.

Greenberg is likely to have another baseball card available in the near future, as a result of his play for Team Israel.

As reported in this earlier JewishSportsCollectibles.com post about Team Israel memorabilia, 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 2015 release of JML cards.

Photographer Bob Ruxin recently verified that he will be at the WBC tourney taking pictures for JML in another posting on Team Israel's Facebook wall.

I hope Greenberg is, indeed, included in the planned set, either individually or as part of a team card.

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

Other items include an autographed baseball (as always, buyers beware!) and a generic University of North Carolina replica jersey (Greenberg played college ball for the Tar Heels).

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. The New York Times ran a beautiful image on Greenberg recently, but it is not for sale through the Times' online store.

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

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

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 Greenbergs 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?

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

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.

Team Israel Roster Released

Jewish baseball collectors rejoice!

Israel Sports Radio has published the Team Israel roster for the qualifying rounds of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

WBC rules allow non-Israeli citizens of Jewish heritage to compete on behalf of Israel in the tournament. As such, the team is composed mostly of Jewish American minor leagues baseball players. Most of these players have baseball cards available for purchase.

It's been my experience that many of these players are terrific about signing autographs for collectors, both in person and through the mail.

Brett Lorin
Brett Lorin signed card and note.
Photo courtesy of Joshua Platt.
David Colvin
David Colvin. Photo courtesy of Joshua Platt.
Among the members of the pitching staff are Richard BleierDavid Colvin and Brett Lorin, all of whom recently responded to a late season minor league mailing I did.
Lorin included a note with his autographed card, and Colvin was kind enough to send me his Clinton LumberKings card, at his own expense. Read more about these minor league mensches in this posting.
Pitcher Eric Berger is a generous in-person signer. I corresponded with Berger via Twitter before I met him after a Columbus Clippers game early in May. He autographed seven or eight cards for me.
During a nearly 30-minute pre-game interview he granted for me in June, Berger told me "to represent Israel would be really cool." I'm thrilled for Eric to have this chance!

Also on the pitching staff are three native Israelis. Dan Rothem pitched in the short-lived Israel Baseball League in 2007. He's got a card in the Jewish Major Leaguers limited edition IBL card set. Get information on the cards, and other IBL memorabilia in this JewishSportsCollectibles.com posting.

Former Jewish Major Leaguers on the Team Israel roster include manager Brad AusmusShawn Green (DH) and Gabe Kapler (OF) will serve as player-coaches, while Andrew Lorraine handles the pitching coach duties. Josh Satin, a Mets minor leaguer who played in the Majors as a 2011 September call up is slated to play second base. All have signed autographs for me in response to previous through-the-mail requests I've done over the last four years.

Brad Ausmus  Gabe Kapler   Josh Satin Sand Gnats  Andrew Lorraine


Israel Tshirt
Team Israel t-shirt. Photo courtesy of PrintoMojo.com.
Regardless of the fact that Team Israel's WBC tournament run could be limited to just two games, there will -- no doubt -- be an array of collectibles available for Jewish baseball collectors, as described in this JewishSportsCollectibles.com posting about Team Israel collectibles.
Team Israel Hat
Official Team Israel World Baseball Classic hat. Photo courtesy of MLB.com.

Collectors can already purchase well-designed team logo t-shirts from PrintMojo.com, and the MLB.com Shop is selling slick Team Israel fitted baseball caps, as detailed in this previous posting.
Other memorabilia on the market now includes game tickets. Roger Dean Stadium will host the WBC qualifiers in which Israel plays. Tickets are not commemorative; they are, rather, standard tickets, featuring team names, dates of games and along with seating information. Tickets are available at the stadium and from TicketMaster.com for $8-14 (plus fees and shipping costs). I cannot, unfortunately, attend the series, but did buy a ticket as a keepsake for my collection.

Martin 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. Can't wait to see the set!

Stay tuned to JewishSportsCollectibles.com over the next weeks. I'll be publishing a posting a series of Team Israel player collectible profiles on the site.

In the meantime, please comment below to let readers know what player cards and memorabilia you have in your Jewish baseball collection, to share photos of the games, or just express your excitement as Team Israel prepares to take the diamond on the world stage.