Jewish Major Leaguers Picks a Pair of MVPs

By Nathan Burstein

Published December 30, 2009, issue of January 08, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

They can handle a curveball, a fastball and a matzo ball.

Professional baseball stars Ryan Braun and Scott Feldman received off-season honors December 23, getting named the Most Valuable Jewish Players of the Year by an organization dedicated to celebrating Jews in the national pastime.

Take the Field: Ryan Braun, left, and Scott Feldman are named 2009’s Most Valuable Jewish Players.
COURTESY OF JEWISH MAJOR LEAGUERS
Take the Field: Ryan Braun, left, and Scott Feldman are named 2009’s Most Valuable Jewish Players.

Jewish Major Leaguers, a Newton, Mass., not-for-profit, selected Braun as its player of the year and Feldman as its pitcher of the year. This is the second time the organization has awarded the titles. (Players honored by Jewish Major Leaguers must identify as Jewish and have a Jewish parent, or be converts.)

A powerhouse left-fielder for the Milwaukee Brewers, the 26-year-old Braun distinguished himself in 2009 by leading the National League in hits, maintaining a .319 batting average and smacking 32 home runs. The son of an Israeli father and a Christian mother, the two-time All-Star was voted the National League Rookie of the Year in 2007 and has been dubbed “the Hebrew Hammer” by fans.

Feldman, a 26-year-old right-hander for the Texas Rangers, achieved a 4.08 earned run average in 2009. With a season record of 17–8, Feldman has achieved more victories than any other Jewish starter since 1980, Jewish Major Leaguers notes.

In honor of the pair’s achievements, the organization will issue special cards of them in its deck for 2010.

Although the ranks of Jewish pros remain limited — there are currently 14 — they’re enjoying something of a golden era. Three Jewish players have taken the field in each of the last two All-Star Games, a number previously matched just twice.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.