Vintage Feed

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. 

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Baseball  

 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

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Basketball

Duke cover
Art Heyman

October 28, 1963

Ernie Grunfeld
February 9, 1976

Jon Scheyer
April 12, 2010

Jamila Wideman
March 17, 1997

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Football

Art Modell SI Cover
Lyle Alzado

July 8, 1991

Jay Fiedler
October 1, 2001

Robert Kraft
February 6, 2012

Art Modell
December 4, 1995 

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Hockey

Matthieu Schneider
June 14, 1993

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Soccer

David Beckham
July 16, 2007

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Tennis

Boris Becker
September 18, 1989

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

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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

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Other

Howard Cosell SI Cover
Charles Goren
 (bridge) 
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

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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.

eBay Alert: Vintage YMHA Baseball Uniform

Do you have $25,000 lying around and an interest in vintage Jewish baseball uniforms? If so, this eBay auction should grab your attention.

YMHA Jersey
YMHA baseball jersey, circa 1870-1890. Photo courtesy of eBay.
Available for Buy It Now price of $25,000.00 or a best offer, is a complete baseball uniform, circa 1870-1890, including wool jersey and pants. The jersey bears a Young Men's Hebrew Association (YMHA) patch on the left breast.

The seller has a 100% satisfaction rating, and lists details of the item as follows:

"This YMHA baseball uniform is in very good to excellent condition!  To find an early period baseball uniform in this condition is a one in a million find. Also, we would like to add, Mr. Tim Wiles, Director of  Research at the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame left a message on my answering machine, requesting color photographs of this uniform. Evidently, from what I understand this uniform is very rare! The label of manufacture is missing, although the hand sewn stitching is still visible, measuring approximately 1.25" x 2". The entire uniform is made from wool. There are no holes, loose threads, or worn spots. There are four buttons on the fly with one missing ivory colored button (3rd button down from the waist button). There is substantial hand stitching on this uniform. There are very light stains from the last time it was worn. Only the pants have these stains. The shirt is spotless. The YMHA patch measures approximately 6" across and is hand stitched. This piece should be placed in an historical institution representing the Jewish and early American baseball foundation. Serious inquiries only."

The seller encourages collectors interested in buying the uniform to call a phone number included with the eBay listing. For the sake of the seller's privacy, I am choosing not to list the number here.

In conducting my reasearch while writing the initial posting of this article on February 18, I emailed the eBay seller, who it turns out is a listing agent for the piece. She, in turn, referred me to the uform's owner, autograph/rare document dealer John Tkachuk, whom I spoke with on February 19. 

Tkachuk tells JewishSportsCollectibles.com that he runs JT Productions, a business that privately sells documents associated with the signers of Declaration of Independence and Revolutionary War figures. Tkachuk says he also mainatins an archive of JFK Bay of Pigs memorabilia and documents.

According to Tkachuk, he also occasionally buys and resells vintage sports memorabilia. His previous sales, Tkachuk says, include the five reels of film that comprise Heading Home, a silent film starring Babe Ruth, which Tkachuk says he sold in an early 2000s sale staged by the now disgraced and defunct Mastro Auctions.

Tkachuk says he purchased the YMHA uniform directly from a friend who owns a pawn shop in Utica, New York. At the same time, he says he purchased several PSA graded cards and Joe DiMaggio autographed baseballs.

The uniform had been in the pawn shop, Tkachuk says, for approximately 20-30 years, having been pawned by a unknown customer.

While he could offer no details of the uniform's provenance, Tkachuk told JSC that the YMHA baseball uniform “may be one of the only one [of its kind] in existence. ... It's a rare piece.”

Tkachuk says he has received several inquires since listing the uniform on eBay, and hopes it ends up in an institutional or museum collection.

To that end, I contacted Tim Wiles, director of research, at the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum. "I think it would be inaccurate to say either that the Hall has an interest in it or that I do," Wiles told JSC in an email. "The owner contacted me in my role as reference librarian and asked me what I could tell him about the uniform. As is par for the course, I requested photographs, as it is difficult to say much about an artifact unless you can see it. That's the extent of our contact." 

None of this information is an indictment of the uniform's authenticity, or the seller's reputation or trustworthiness. It does, however, highlight the fact that collectors should do their own due diligance before making any purchase. And, buyers should always beware ... especially with a piece of this nature.
Are any JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers interested in purchasing this uniform?

If any JSC reader should, indeed, buy the jersey and pants, we'd love to feature your story in a future JewishSportsCollectibles.com posting.

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Editor's notes:

Originally posted February 18, 2013.

Updated with information from John Tkachuk on February 19, 2013.

Updated with information from Tim Wiles on February 20, 2013.


Obituary: Art Modell, 'One of the Most Influential Owners in the History of the NFL'

Art Modell
Art Modell celebrated the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl win. Photo courtesy of SportsIllustrated.com, by Laura Rauch/AP.
Art Modell, the Jewish former owner of the National Football League's Cleveland Browns and Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens, died Thursday, September 6, as reported by Kaplan's Korner on Jews and Sports. He was 87-years-old.

ESPN describes Modell as "one of the most influential owners in the history of the NFL," writing that "Modell helped mold the foundation of the league."

An advertising and television executive prior to buying the Browns, Modell served as Chairman of the NFL’s Television Committee for 31 years, from 1962 to 1993. He negotiated TV deals worth billions of dollars to the NFL, according to the New York Times. This included working with ABC Television Network to create Monday Night Football and helping to create NFL Films.

Modell was also an ardent supporter of football's expansion. He pushed for new games (including pre-season games and Thanksgiving Day matches), assisted with the 1970 merger of the American Football League and the National Football League, and led league expansion (the Browns moved to Baltimore as an expansion team), according to ESPN

Fellow owners respected Modell immensely, according to a statement from the Baltimore Ravens. From 1969 through 1969, he served as the only elected NFL president in league history, serving in that capacity in 1967-69. As Chairman of the Owners' Labor Committee in 1968, Modell helped negotiate NFL’s first collective bargaining agreement with players.

Despite his prowess as a 43-year team owner and promoter of football, Modell was vilified by Ohio fans, some of whom never forgave him for relocating the Browns to Baltimore.

That's why, despite his more-than-worthy credentials, Modell has not yet been enshrined in Canton, according to Sports Illustrated. Modell has been nominated repeatedly for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but has yet to be elected. JewishSportsCollectibles.com hopes this egregious oversight will be rectified posthumously.

Off the field, Modell was a generous philanthropist, according to the Baltimore Sun. He gave millions of dollars to a variety of causes, including Jewish and Catholic religious organizations, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and a variety of arts and cultural groups.

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Jewish football collectors can honor Modell's enormous legacy with a variety of collectibles.

Beckett.com lists several football cards for Modell. These include 1974 and 1984 Browns team issues, a 1995 Sports Illustrated card, and a 2009 Sportskings Series C "Owner's Box" cut signature card (#TOB-AM).

The last card is particularly intriguing. Sportskings are a modern revival of the 1930s cards by the same name. The vintage design is colorful and eye catching. A Sportskings company spokesperson tells JewishSportsCollectibles.com that the cut signature inserts were issued as one-of-a-kind, single printing cards, making this the rarest of Modell memorabilia.

Unfortunately, no Beckett Marketplace retailerss or eBay sellers are offering any of the cards at the time of this posting.

Art Modell SP
Art Modell Signed Photo. Photo courtesy of eBay.
As so often happens after a celebrity death, however, eBay is awash in auctions featuring Art Modell memorabilia.

Listings include Browns and Ravens autographed footballs and mini-helmets, team signed items featuring Modell's autograph, along with a variety of signed photos, business cards and art prints. 

Among the more interesting collectibles are vintage press photos of Modell and a group of signed items offered by seller "jewish-collector" that includes an autographed photo inscribed "Shalom!"

There are also dozens of programs, yearbooks and media guides, tickets stubs, etc. from both the Browns and Ravens for collectors who prefer more generic Modell memorabilia.  

Art Modell SI Cover
Art Modell Sports Illustrated Cover. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.
Modell was featured on the cover of the December 4, 1995 issue of Sports Illustrated. The magazine details Modell's battle with Cleveland to relocated the Browns to Baltimore. The image is a unflattering caricature of Modell, and the headline reads: "Art Modell Sucker-Punched Cleveland." The cover is not for sale on SICovers.com. Collectors can, however, purchase it on eBay and Amazon.com.

Amazon also offers numerous books about Modell, including histories of Browns and Ravens, along with biographies of Modell. Sadly, there's even a song about Modell -- Blame It On Art Modell -- available for download. On a more positive note, collectors can also purchase a JSA certified Modell autographed index card on Amazon.com.

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What Art Modell memorabilia do you have in your Jewish football collection? Did you ever have occasion to meet the Browns and Ravens owner? Share your thoughts on the legendary football man by commenting below.


Today's Pull: Ian Kinsler Gypsy Queen Mini

Kinsler 2012 Gypsy Queen MiniI'm partial to the modern cards that pay homage to vintage designs.

I especially like the Topps Gypsy Queen, Allen & Ginter's and the TriStar Obak issues, to name just a few.

So, I was thrilled to pull an Ian Kinsler mini card from a pack of 2012 Topps Gypsy Queens today. It makes a nice addition to my Jewish baseball collection.

What's you favorite find this week?

Let JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers know by adding your comment below.