Baseball Players: Just Like Us
11 months ago Zach Marcus 0
It may seem like Jews are strangers in the world of baseball, that we are actually very experienced playing America’s pastime. Many prolific professional baseball players are just like us: they’re Jewish! Kevin Pillar of the Toronto Blue Jays is arguably the best defensive outfielder in the game. Joc Pederson is an essential piece to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ recent success. And without Alex Bregman, an all-star on the Houston Astros, the team may not have won the 2017 World Series. Also, there were ten Jews drafted in this year’s draft, indicating a strong presence will ensure in the future.
Yes, none of these players are “observant,” but they are all proud of their Jewish roots. In fact, one source says Pederson has blown the Rosh Hashanah shofar at his family’s synagogue for the past 17 years. Multiple players have played on Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic, which was a serious contender for the championship. And four of them (Bregman, Pillar, Danny Valencia, and Zack Weiss) even had a bar mitzvah in their youth.
And here’s a fun fact: On June 8, 2018, five Jewish players hit a home run! All on the same day! We should make that a Jewish holiday. Considering there have only been 13 to play this year, that is a very remarkable feat
Ever since my dad took me to my first baseball game when I was four years old, I have been a huge fan of America’s Pastime. From playing little league to my Yankees gear, I really felt a connection to the game. It also makes it easier for me and every other Jewish baseball fan to enjoy baseball knowing that we are part of it just like everyone else.
Despite being a very small minority in America’s population, there are a lot more athletes and celebrities with Jewish roots than you may think. But before you know it, maybe your hometown team will sign someone just like you. Remember: many players have proudly displayed their Judaism. Sandy Koufax refused to pitch in a World Series game in 1965. Josh Zeid openly speaks about his Jewish identity. And Ty Kelly once said that praying at the Western Wall was one of the most inspiring moments of his life. They only difference between them and us is they didn’t get to have fun at CTeen!