Sandy Koufax Feed

New Marvin Miller Card in 2015 Topps Heritage

2015 topps heritage marvin miller
2015 Topps Heritage Marvin Miller card.

The 2015 Topps Heritage set includes a card for Marvin Miller, in addition to the Sandy Koufax cards mentioned in yesterday's post on JewishSportsCollectibles.com.

The former Player's Association executive director is featured on card NF-9, part of the issue's "News Flashbacks" subset, according to the set checklist on CardboardConnection.com
The Miller cards are currently selling for $1-2 eBay and between $0.30 and $1.50 on Beckett.com.

Interesting side note for collectors of Jews in Hollywood memorabilia and Trekkies: the set also includes a Star Trek card (NF-3) picturing MOTs William Shatner and Leonard Nemoy.

Marvin miller 1994 Upper Deck
Marvin Miller 1994 Upper Deck card.

Miller has been featured on several cards over the years. His cards include the 1994 Upper Deck "American Epic" set, a 2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites issue, cards with Donald Fehr and Michael Weiner the 2007 and 2010 Jewish Major Leaguers series, and a 2010 Topps Allen & Ginter issue.

Read JewishSportsCollectibles.com's post on Miller and the other Jewish labor leaders in the NFL and NHL  for more details.

I've just ordered the new Miller card, and am excited to add it to the other baseball labor leaders and executives portion of my Jewish baseball collection. Will you be buying Miller's new pasteboard? What memorabilia featuring the union head do you have in your Jewish baseball collection?


2015 Topps Heritage Set Features Koufax Cards

With the sheer volume of cards released every year, it can be tough for Jewish baseball card collectors to know what Jewish Major Leaguers have cards in newly issued sets.

Koufax a legend retiresToday, I was pleased to learn about the 2015 Topps Heritage cards featuring Hall of Famer pitcher Sandy Koufax.

According to CardboardConnection.com, the set includes a 15-card "A Legend Retires" subset. Cards are numbered SK-1 through SK-15. They are available exclusively in product sold at Walmart. A search on Walmart.com shows no product available. As such, I'm assuming the cards are available only in card packs purchased in-store.

The checklist for the Koufax special inserts is as follows:

  • SK-1 Sandy Notches Shutout at 19
  • SK-2 Teenage Whitewash
  • SK-3 "Student-Athlete"
  • SK-4 Koufax Proves He Belongs
  • SK-5 Sandy Isn't Rusty
  • SK-6 18 Go Down on Strikes
  • SK-7 Matty's Mark Falls
  • SK-8 Mets' Can't Muster a Hit
  • SK-9 Sandy Slays the Giants
  • SK-10 Sandy Pitches L.A. to Title
  • SK-11 Practically Perfect in Philly
  • SK-12 Absolute Perfection
  • SK-13 Koufax Sets Season K Mark
  • SK-14 Twins Tamed by Koufax
  • SK-15 One for the Ages

The Walmart inserts are selling for a few dollars a piece, and in lots with prices exceeding $10 a group, on eBay.

In addition to the "Legend Reitres" subset, Koufax is featured on nearly a dozen other cards that are part of the 2015 Topps Heritage product. These include:

  • Card BF-10 Sandy Koufax - Los Angeles Dodgers, the last in the 10-card "Baseball Flashbacks" inserts.
  • ROA-SK Sandy Koufax - Los Angeles Dodgers, a "Real One Autographs" card. The limited edition redemption cards are going for $800 or more on eBay!
  • Five different "Then & Now" cards, pairing the Hall of Fame lefty with current pitchers Clayton Kershaw (TAN-6 and TAN-8), David Price (TAN-7 and TAN-9) and Adam Wainwright (TAN-10). These cards are interesting, but only Kershaw belongs in the same breath as Koufax, let alone the same cardboard, in my opinion. 

Do you have any of the 2015 Topps Heritage Sandy Koufax cards in your Jewish baseball collection? Will you be going to Walmart (or eBay) to buy any? Do you have any to sell or trade?

Let fellow Jewish baseball card collectors know by commenting below.

 


Jewish World Series MVPs

Jewish Major Leaguer Craig Breslow will become the 24 Jewish player to appear in the World Series, should he pitch for the Boston Red Sox in the 2013 Fall Classic.
Craig Breslow. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
The Boston Red Sox take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, which starts tonight, Wednesday, October 23. 

Should he have the opportunity to come on in relief, Red Sox pitcher Craig Breslow will become the 24 Jewish Major Leaguer to play in the World Series, as documented in these postings from Kaplan's Korner and Jewish Baseball News.

Koufax Upper Deck Print

Sandy Koufax Upper Deck artwork. Photo courtesy of Beckett.com.

 

During the history of the World Series Most Valuable Player Award (which started in 1955), two Jewish baseball players and a player who converted to Judaism after his career won a total of four MVP trophies.

Interestingly, all three played for the Los Angeles Dodgers when they captured the honors.

 

 

Larry Sherry 1960 Topps

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 2004 UD Legends 2 Autograph
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.

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Editor's Note: A version of this posting originally ran under the headline "Jewish World Series MVP Profiles" in 2011.

Jackie and the Jews: Jackie Robinson and Hank Greenberg

Jackie Robinson 2013 Gypsey Queen
Jackie Robinson
Topps 2013
 Gypsy Queen.
Photo courtesy of JSC.com.

Throughout his career, Jackie Robinson played with and against numerous Jewish Major Leaguers in the late 1940s and 1950s.

Burt and Benita Boxerman's two-volume series Jews And Baseball, Larry Rutman's American Jews and America's Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in BaseballHoward Megdal's The Baseball TalmudPeter Ephross and Martin Abramowitz's Jewish Major Leaguers in Their Own Words, and The Big Book of Jewish Baseball by Peter and Joachim Horvitz are all excellent resources for learning more about Jewish Major Leaguers on the era.

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.

42 Pee Wee Reese
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.

As described by Stephen Norword and Harold Brackman in their SABR award-winning research paper, "Going to Bat for Jackie Robinson: The Jewish Role in Breaking Baseball's Color Line."

"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.
Hank Greenberg: The Story of My Life. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.
Both Robinson and Greenberg, however, mention it in their autobiographies; Robinson in Jackie Robinson: My Own Story (co-written by African-American sportswriter Wendell Smith, who chronicled Robinson's rookie season for the Pittsburgh Courier), and Greenberg in Hank Greenberg: The Story of My Life (co-authored by Ira Bekow).

Recalls Greenberg:

"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 Hero of Heroes
Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.
John Rosengren's new biography of Greenberg, Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes, also recounts the episode (drawing on The Story of My Life as a source).

"The moment held lasting significance for Robinson," writes Rosengren. "It also burnished Hank's reputation as a hero for the way he conducted himself."

The books Hank Greenberg: The Hero Who Didn't Want to Be One, Hammerin' Hank Greenberg, Two Pioneers: How Hank Greenberg and Jackie Robinson Transformed Baseball - and America and When Jackie and Hank Met also touch, to varying extents, on Greenberg and Robinson's interaction.

Life And Times of Hank Greenberg DVD.
The Life And Times of Hank Greenberg. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.
Aviva Kempner's documentary, The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, the more recent Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story and the YouTube documentary, Jewish Activism in Baseball Part 5: Life Long Friendship, one of a series of short documentary vignettes on the topic of Jews in baseball, also detail the encounter.

"My Dad said, many times, that he didn't know what having it bad was until he saw what Jackie Robinson went through in 1947," recounts Steve Greenberg, Hank's son, in Life and Times. 

Two baseball cards also commemorate Robinson and Greenberg's infamous interaction.

2002 Fleer Hank Greenberg Jackie Robinson card.
2002 Fleer Hank Greenberg Jackie Robinson card. Photo courtesy of FindFreeGraphics.com.
These include a 2002 Fleer "Rival Factions" card and a 2008 Jewish Major Leaguers issue.

The Fleer card includes standard and limited edition variations.

The later include cards featuring swatches of Robinson's game used pants, slices of Greenberg's bats, or both.

Beckett.com offers a checklist of the various issues.

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.

Jewish Major Leaguers Hank Greenberg Jackie Robinson card
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 for $4.

At the time of this posting, no Beckett Marketplace or eBay sellers were offering the 2008 JML card.

Collectors interested in purchasing the card, however, can follow this link to search for it on eBay and this link to search Beckett.

Do JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers know of other Hank Greenberg and Jackie Robinson memorabilia? Let JSC know by commenting below.

We'll look at the ties between, and collectibles associated with, Robinson and his Brooklyn Dodgers teammate Sandy Koufax in the next posting in this series. Stay tuned.

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Jackie and the Jews: A Preview

Jackie Robinson 42 movie poster
42 movie poster. Photo courtesy of 42movie.com.
With the recent release of 42, the movie detailing Jackie Robinson's breaking of the Major League Baseball's "color line" in modern era (April 15 marked the 66th anniversary of Robinson's 1947 debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers), I've been thinking a great deal about Robinson, whom I've long admired for his courage and grace.

The connections between Jackie Robinson and the Jewish people, are broader, deeper and more intimate than I knew when I started my research for this series of postings.

"Robinson’s breaking of baseball’s color line in 1947, one of the most important civil rights advances of the first half of the twentieth century, benefited very significantly from such Jewish cooperation and support," write Stephen Norword and Harold Brackman in their SABR award-winning research paper, "Going to Bat for Jackie Robinson: The Jewish Role in Breaking Baseball's Color Line," originally published in the Spring 1999 issue of the Journal of Sport History.

Throughout his career, Robinson played with and against numerous Jewish major leaguers in the late 1940s and 1950s, including Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax, to name but a few.

He also enjoyed the support of some renowned Jewish sportswriters and journalists, and was assisted in his personal life by a variety of Jewish friends and business associates.

The number of collectibles showcasing the relationship between Robinson and the Jews includes baseball cards, books and movies, among other items.

Over the coming days, JewishSportsCollectibles.com will explore each of these connections in a series of upcoming postings about Jackie Robinson and the the Jews.

Watch JSC for additional postings.