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Shawn Green, BuJew

And the all-time all-Jewish starting lineup

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Shawn Green hits a grand slam in 2004.(Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

In a new book (which I reviewed in yesterday’s New York Times Book Review, along with three other baseball books), recently retired Jewish outfielder Shawn Green explains how his Eastern spirituality, a sort of Zen 101, helped his hitting. His Judaism doesn’t play a major role in his book or (one gathers) in his life, but he does allude to how it was highlighted, complete with a Sports Illustrated profile, when he was traded, in late 1999, to the Los Angeles Dodgers—the most historically Jewish franchise playing in one of the most Jewish metropolitan areas.

Well, Koufax and Yom Kippur and New Jersey Jewish News, oh my! The profile (titled “Promised Land”!) lays it on thick. It is a fun read, though, so have at it.

Meanwhile, in the same article, SI came up with a sketch for the all-time Jewish-American starting lineup:

Rod Carew, 2B, Hall of Famer
Buddy Myer, SS, career .303 hitter
Al Rosen, 3B, had 145 RBIs in ’53
Hank Greenberg, 1B, Hall of Famer
Sid Gordon, RF, 202 career homers
Benny Kauff, LF, lifetime .311 hitter
Elliott Maddox, CF, career .989 fielder
Moe Berg, C, spoke 12 languages, hit in none
Sandy Koufax, P, ranked up there with Moses.

It goes on to note that Gordon could very well be replaced by Green, then at his career’s midpoint; now that Green has retired with 328 home runs and a lifetime .283 average, and set the record for most total bases hit for in a single game, he has sealed that deal. The problem remaining is Carew. He is famously claimed in Adam Sandler’s “Hanukkah Song”: “He converted,” Sandler sings. But Carew did not convert—he married a Jewish woman and raised Jewish kids, but was not himself a Jew. Meaning we need a second bagger! Ian Kinsler, it’s time to step it up.

Baseball Chronicle [NYTBR]
Promised Land [SI]

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Yaier Lehrer says:

You might want to read The baseball Talmud which gives a great overview of tis topic. Missing from your analysis are Lou Boudreau as an infield player and a manager, Barney Dreyfuss as the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates who came up with th idea for the World Series and Art Shamsky OF for the Mets and Cardinals. You should also find a place in the outfield for Ron Blomberg, although he is best known as the first DH.

Jacob Silverman says:

Even without playing a few more years, Ryan Braun could replace Kauff now in LF, though Kauff should get consideration for playing in the dead ball era. Youkilis as the utility guy off the bench?

Bennett Muraskin says:

Add Marvin Miller. Not a player, but he organized them into a union! They went from indentured servants to professionals under his leadership.

leaving out harry “the horse” danning is unforgivable

Gilbert Brodsky says:

How can you not include Kevin Youkilis? Put him at 3rd base instead of Al Rosen. If you want, move Rosen to DH, he wasn’t that great in the field anyway.

vacciniumovatum says:

Rod Carew isn’t Jewish; sorry.

Confusion over conversion to Judaism

Carew has never formally converted to Judaism. However, he married a Jewish woman, Marilynn Levy, and his three daughters were raised in the Jewish tradition. One source propagating the misconception that Carew converted to Judaism is the 1994 song, The Chanukah Song, written and performed by entertainer Adam Sandler, in which he lists famous Jews of the 20th century. He names Carew with these words: “…O.J. Simpson… not a Jew! But guess who is: Hall of Famer Rod Carew—he converted”. Sandler has reiterated this mistake in later incarnations of the song.

Adding to the confusion is an article written in Esquire magazine in 1976. Sportswriter Harry Stein released his “All Time All-Star Argument Starter” article which consisted of five different baseball teams, each based on ethnicity. Carew was erroneously named the second baseman on Stein’s All-Jewish team.

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Shawn Green, BuJew

And the all-time all-Jewish starting lineup

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