Several Jewish minor leaguers — all of whom have a have variety of baseball cards available for collectors — recently made their major league debuts.
Called up August 17 by the Phillies, 6'8” relief pitcher Michael Schwimer is the most likely of the newest Jewish Major Leaguers to see post season playing time.
Schwimer's minor league cards include issues from the 2008 Williamsport Crosscutters Phillies, 2009 Clearwater Threshers Phillies, 2010 Reading Phillies, 2010 Eastern League (AA) All-Stars, 2011 Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs and 2011 International League (AAA) All-Stars.
A graduate of the University of Virginia, Schwimer was featured in 2005 and 2006 UVA issues, according to Beckett.
The new Jewish Major Leaguer has no big league cards, yet.
Schwimer has proved himself a quick and willing signer. He autographed two cards for me in response to a letter I sent to the Phillies early in September.
Besides his cards, what other Schwimer collectibles exist?
A day after Schwimer got the call from the Phillies, the Red Sox brought up their highly touted catcher Ryan Lavarnway.
The Yale product has seen spotty action, but has proved himself capable of being at Fenway. Lavarnway makes up for his lack of playing time with a glut of memorabilia. Beckett shows a bevvy of cards available for Lavarnway.
- 2008 Razor autographed and memorabilia cards, including single issue “Letterman” cards containing autographed uniform letters. These sell on eBay for $15 or less.
- 2008 TriStar Prospects Plus cards, including color variations.
- 2008, 2010 and 2011 Topps Pro Debut cards, including limited edition color and printing plate varieties, and an autographed edition.
- 2010 and 2011 Bowman Sterling Prospects, including one-of-one printing plate variations.
- And, I'm fascinated by the design of Lavarnway's 2011 Upper Deck Goodwin card (pictured above right). An homage to early 1900s baseball card styles, the Goodwin issues include a full mini, mini foil, color and one-of-one printing plate variations, and a signed card.
Prices for the catcher's cardboard on eBay range from a few dollars to $25-$100 or more, depending on the variation's scarcities.
His minor league cards include 2008 Lowell Spinners, 2009 Greenville Drive, 2010 Salem Red Sox, 2011 Portland Sea Dogs,
Several Lavarnway signed bats (buyer beware, the seller says these are “game used by an unknown player,” not Lavarnway) are up for bid on eBay, as of this posting. They have Buy It Now prices of $49-75. A great grab for collectors of Jewish baseball lumber or a scam by an opportunistic seller? Your thoughts?
Satin hit .323 with 12 home runs and 76 RBI (combined) with AA Binghamton and AAA Buffalo before being promoted to New York. He was named an Eastern League All-Star team this summer, the third consecutive year he was honored as an All-Star.
In a handful of games with the Mets, Satin has already collected his first career hit and extra base hit.
Satin's major issue pasteboard includes a 2011 Topps Pro Debut Single A All-Stars and 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects and Bowman Sterling Prospects. There are numerous limited edition and special printing versions of both cards. Beckett offers a full checklist.
Satin's minor league pasteboard include cards for the 2008 Brooklyn Cyclones, 2009 Savannah Sand Gnats, 2010 St. Lucie Mets and 2011 Binghamton Mets.
A highly touted college player, the University of California-Berkeley All-America participated in the 2004 Alaska Baseball League and the 2006 and 2007 Cape Cod Leagues. Collectors have the chance to obtain Satin's quirky first baseball card from the ABL's 2004 Mat-Su Miners set. It is available occasionally on eBay for a few dollars. Expect to pay $10-15 for the team set.
Satin has signed autographs for me several times through the mail, including quickly signing two cards for me in response to a letter I sent to the Mets just after his call up.
Besides his cards, what other Satin collectibles exist? What Satin memorabilia do you have in your collection? Any game used bats or jerseys?
Lastly a note about White Sox pitcher Dylan Axelrod, who I mentioned in an earlier JewishSportsCollectibles.com posting as being among the newest Jewish Major Leaguers.
For several years, The Jewish Sports Review listed Axelrod was listed as a Jewish. Like Jason Kipnis earlier this season, Axelrod's rise to the majors brought kvelling from Jewish baseball fans. Like Kipnis, upon his promotion, Jewish baseball collectors learned that Axelrod does not self-identify as Jewish.
According to a report on Kaplan's Korner (thanks for the heads up, Ron!), "JSR giveth and JSR taketh away." Neil Keller, the "expert of who's Jewish" now lists Axelrod as having a Jewish father, but not being raised as Jewish, on his web site.
I will say this, however. Axelrod signed through-the-mail for me on two separate occasions during his minor league days. Both times, he responded to my standard "I'm attempting to build a collection of cards autographed all of the living players of Jewish heritage" letter. The again, so did Larry Rothschild, who asked to be removed from the Jewish Major Leaguers card set because he isn't Jewish.
Maybe Axelrod and Rothschild didn't read my letter before they signed my cards?
Whatever the case, I think it's fair that we can safely remove Axelrod from the roster of Jewish Major Leaguers. I'll just add him to the page in my binder of cards that features non-Jewish players of Jewish heritage — along with the likes of Kipnis and Rothschild.