Sandy Koufax Feed

AJHS 'Night of Jewish Baseball' Recap

AJHS Night of Jewish Baseball Panel DiscussionThe American Jewish Historical Society recently hosted “A Night Of Jewish Baseball.

A sell-out, the February 27 event featured Jewish sportswriter and broadcaster Len Berman moderating a panel discussion that include three renowned Jewish baseball authors and two former Jewish Major Leaguers.

Ira Berkow, author of Hank Greenberg: The Story of My LifeFranklin Foer, editor of Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame, and Jane Leavy, author of Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy made up the panel of authors. 

Baseball historian and author John Thorn was scheduled to appear, but was ill and unable to take part.

Former Yankees media relations representative and sports publicist Marty Appel, himself a Jew and the author of several baseball books, handled PR for the event.

In an email following the festivities, Appel told JewishSportsCollectibles.com that Leavy shared with the crowd the story of Sandy Koufax attending her daughter's bat mitzvah.  

"He doesn't like those sorts of things because when he enters, 250 people come at him, it detracts from the event, and engulfs him," Appel said, relaying Leavy's account of the day. "But he did this for Jane, who quickly hustled [Sandy] into a private study for peace and quiet prior to the ceremony.

"In the study was Emma, the bat mitzvah girl, and a friend of hers, a boy. The boy asked Sandy how to throw a curve ball, and Sandy demonstrated. The boy insisted he was wrong, that this is the way you throw it.

"Amused, Sandy made the point that he had some success with his style. The boy refused to budge and said Sandy was not doing it right, he should do it his way.

"Finally, Sandy said, 'Look, this is how you $%^$E throw it!' The profanity was ballplayer-talk, and brought the house down."

Ron Blomberg and Art ShamskyFormer Jewish Major Leaguers Ron Blomberg and Art Shamsky also headlined the affair. Blomberg shared with attendees some of the stories contained in his autobiography, Designated Hebrew.

Appel tells JSC that Blomberg "talked about growing up Jewish in Atlanta, surrounded by KKK, but always a Yankee fan."

IBL Players at the AJHS Night of Jewish BaseballBoth Shamsky and Blomberg managed in the short-lived Israel Baseball League.

Several IBL veterans, including Nate Fish and Shlomo Lipetz, who coached and pitched with Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers, and Secretary-General, Israel Association of Baseball Peter Kurz attended the function. 



Team Israel signed World Baseball Classic jersey Sandy Koufax Jerseys on Display At the AJHS Night of Jewish BaseballThe event featured a display of Jewish baseball memorabilia, including autographed uniforms from Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax and a team signed Team Israel WBC jersey.

Also on display was an autographed, limited edition All Jewish Baseball Players lithograph by artist Ron Lewis and Greg Harris.

The artwork was auctioned during the event, with proceed benefiting AJHS. 


Jewish Major Leaguers Baseball Cards Jews In Baseball lithographThe first 100 attendees who purchased $150 “reserved seats” received a gold-trimmed, limited edition set of the 2003 edition of Jewish Major Leaguers baseball cards, and attendees could also purchase JML card sets during the event.

I only wish I could have attended the AJHS Night of Jewish Baseball, instead of blogging about it from afar. Alas, I'm in Ohio and the event was held in New York City.

Did you attend the Night of Jewish Baseball? Tell JSC readers about your experience by commenting below. Share your photos from the event by emailing JewishSportsCollectibles.com at jsportscollctr@gmail.com

All event photos used above are by Melanie Einzig, courtesy of the American Jewish Historical Society. Additional photos can be found on the AJHS web site and Facebook page.

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AJHS Hosting Night of Jewish Baseball

AJHS_Jewish_Baseball_InvitationThe American Jewish Historical Society is hosting “A Night Of Jewish Baseball” on Wednesday, February 27. Unfortunately, as of this posting, the event is sold out and no additional tickets are available for purchase.

But, for Jewish baseball enthusiasts and collectors fortunate enough to be able to go, the event promises to be exciting.

Author and sportscaster Len Berman is moderating a panel discussion that is scheduled to include four renowned authors and two former Jewish Major Leaguers, both of whom are also published authors.

The Jewish sportswriters and authors schedule to appear include:

Former baseball players Ron Blomberg and Art Shamsky are also scheduled to participate.

Ron Blomber 2003 Upper Deck Yankees
Ron Blomber 2003 Upper Deck card. Photo courtesy of JSC.
Blomberg, famed as baseball's first designated hitter, is the co-author of Designated Hebrew: The Ron Blomberg Story. Blomberg is also a veteran of the Israel Baseball League, where he managed the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox. 

He is the subject of numerous cards, including including Upper Deck's Yankees history card (pictured left) and the Jewish Major Leaguers sets. Beckett.com offers a complete checklist

A frequent signer, Blomberg items -- including signed and inscribed baseballs, photos, bats, jerseys and cards -- are plentiful on Beckett.comeBay and Amazon.com. Collectors can also purchase memorabilia directly from Blomberg, via his website.

Art Shamsky JML Card
Art Shamsky Jewish Major Leaguers card. Photo courtesy of JSC.

Shamsky, a member of the 1969 "Miracle Mets" is the author of The Magnificent Seasons: How the Jets, Mets, and Knicks Made Sports HIstory and Uplifted a City and the Country. Shamsky also managed in the Israel Baseball League, as the skipper for the Modi'in Miracle. 

Collectors have access to dozens of Shamsky cards (see Beckett.com for a checklist). His cards and other collectibles, including autographed memorabilia, are plentiful on eBay and Amazon.com. Jewish baseball enthusiasts can also purchase memorabilia from Shamsky's web site.

AJHS will have a display of Jewish baseball memorabilia, including autographed uniforms from Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax and the World Baseball Classic Team Israel during the event.

Jewish Baseball Lithograph
Ron Lewis Jewish Baseball lithograph. Photo courtesy of JewishBaseballPlayer.com and AJHS.

An autographed, limited edition All Jewish Baseball Players lithograph by artist Ron Lewis will also be on display.

The lithograph will be available for bid at silent auction.

The first 100 attendees who purchased $150 “reserved seats” will receive a gold-trimmed, limited edition set of the 2003 edition of Jewish Major Leaguers baseball cards. 

Are any JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers planning to attend the AJHS Night of Jewish Baseball? Share your experiences from the evening by commenting below, or by emailing jsportscollctr@gmail.com. And, stay tuned to JSC for pictures from the event in a future posting.

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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. 


Beautiful Box Guarantees Collectors A 'Legend of the Hall'

Legends of the Hall Box Art When did a package design stopped you in your tracks?

For me, it happened just last week.

Browsing the shelves at my local card shop, a particularly beautiful display caught my eye.

The box for Historic Autographs 2011 "Legends of the Hall" issue features the image at right, a stunning depiction of a baseball game circa (to my estimation) the late 1800s.

The art was so fetching that I asked about the product. $100 (retail) would buy me a single card.

Lou Boudreau LOTHThis is no ordinary card, however.

Included in each box -- guaranteed -- is the PSA/DNA authenticated, slabbed, limited edition, autographed postcard plaque of one member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The rear of the box included the series checklist. $100 might have purchased me a HOF plaque signed by Jewish Hall of Famers Lou Boudreau (commence arguing: Is he? Isn't he?), Hank Greenberg or Sandy Koufax.

For me, the $100 was too much. For some, the thrill of the pull might justify the cash.

If you're interested in the cards, but don't want to pay full price, sellers are offering unopened boxes of Legends of the Hall on eBay for less than $100.

Collectors can also buy individual Legends of the Hall cards. I found a listing for the Lou Boudreau card on eBay for substantially below the retail price of the box. My search found no listings, though, for 2011 Greenberg or Koufax issues.

So, would you drop a Benjamin for the chance to own a Lou, Hank or a Sandy? Did you buy any of the 2010 Legends of the Hall cards?


Will You Vote Koufax Cards Among Topps 'All-Time' Favorites?

Koufax Topps 55 As it marks its 60th anniversary of producing baseball cards, Topps is asking fans to vote for their favorite cards of the last 60 years. Among the nominees are three cards for Hall of Fame pitcher, and Jewish baseball fan favorite, Sandy Koufax.

From a Topps news release about the voting process:

Koufax Topps 56"For 60 years, Topps has offered its collectors the best baseball cards in the world and now, the question will finally be addressed: What is the most popular Topps baseball card of all-time? Today, The Topps Company, the leading creator and marketer of sports cards and the official baseball card company of Major League Baseball®, announced the company’s plans to let collectors answer that question in its efforts to determine the top 60 cards in its illustrious history. 

 

Koufax Topps 57 To celebrate the company’s 60th anniversary, beginning today, fans will have the chance to go to http://vote.topps.com to vote for their favorite Topps baseball cards of all-time. Voting will be live for 30 days.  Based on the opinions of avid card collectors and Topps fans, the cards will be counted down from number 60 beginning on December 18 through February 15 when the greatest baseball card in Topps history will be revealed."

The three Koufax cards included for consideration in the voting are the lefty's 1955, 1956 and 1957 issues.

I'm partial to horizontal designs, and my favorite of the three options is the 1956 card, which combines a beautiful portrait and action shot of Koufax.

What's your favorite? Vote for Sandy, or others, at http://vote.topps.com.