It was an interesting week for Jewish — and quasi-Jewish — baseball players, both present and past.
On April 27, New York Mets star Shawn Green (currently sixth in National League hitting), along with teammates David Newhan, Scott Schoeneweis and Aaron Sele, reportedly paid a visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Green, who called the visit “intense” and “educational,” found himself particularly moved by a display of victims’ shoes. Newhan, whose great-grandmother was killed during the purge of the Warsaw Ghetto, was also deeply moved. “It was pretty heavy,” he told the Journal News, “but something definitely worthwhile.” He said he planned to take his 2-year-old son when the time was right. Newhan, though bar mitzvahed at a Conservative synagogue, today considers himself to be a messianic Jew. Green and Schoeneweis are both Jewish; Sele is not. The Mets’ chief operating officer, Jeff Wilpon, who serves on the museum’s board, arranged the outing.
In other Jewish baseball news, Sandy Koufax, 71, was the symbolic final pick in a draft held by the newly created Israel Baseball League. The Modi’in Miracle drafted Koufax, who hasn’t played professionally for 41 years. The Forward was unable to reach the famously press-shy pitcher for comment, but according to Marty Appel, who once handled public relations for the New York Yankees and now serves on the new league’s board of advisers, word on the street is that the baseball legend was “honored and amused.”