Bob Wolfley had a little item on Ryan Braun that I thought was interesting.
In his book "The Baseball Talmud: The Definitive Position-by-Position Ranking of Baseball's Chosen Players," author Howard Megdal sees great things ahead for Brewers leftfielder Ryan Braun.
Megdal writes that the top 10 Jewish players in the history of baseball are:
1. Hank Greenberg, 2. Sandy Koufax, 3. Lou Boudreau, 4. Shawn Green, 5. Buddy Myer, 6. Al Rosen, 7. Sid Gordon, 8. Ken Holtzman, 9. Harry Danning and 10. Mike Lieberthal.
Megdal predicts by 2019 the best Jewish players in baseball overall will be:
1. Greenberg, 2. Koufax, 3. Braun, 4. Boudreau, 5. Green, 6. Kevin Youkilis, 7. Ian Kinsler, 8. Myer, 9. Rosen and 10. Gordon.
That's pretty heady company that Braun is keeping in Megdal's hypothetical 2019 Top 3. He is also big on Ian Kinsler's potential, apparently.
But wait - as we remember, not everybody is so willing to claim Braun as Jewish.
Take the case of Milwaukee Brewers' rookie sensation Ryan Braun. His father is Jewish and his mother is not Jewish. Although raised in no faith, he clearly is proud of his Jewish background, as an interview earlier in the summer with The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle made clear.
The assertion that Braun was raised in no faith is based on information received from the editors of the Jewish Sports Review, the most reliable and authoritative source on the Jewish heritage of athletes. They got it from Braun's college coach, who had got it from Braun himself.
Enter the Jewish Press, a Brooklyn-based Orthodox newspaper. In an Aug. 8 article titled, "Greenberg to Green to Braun," the Brewers rookie was hailed as the heir to Jewish baseball legend Hank Greenberg and New York Mets outfielder Shawn Green. Never mind that most of the newspaper's readers wouldn't consider Braun Jewish, once they learned that his mother was not a member of the tribe.
Without citing a source, the article declared that Braun's nickname was "The Hebrew Hammer" and "he is cool with that." I found no source but the Jewish Press article in which Braun said he is cool with, or even likes, being called The Hebrew Hammer.
The issue came up in a profile of Braun, which appeared in the Aug. 28 edition of USA Today Sports Weekly. The profile noted that Braun's non-Jewish mother, Diane, grew up in a home where Greenberg once lived. It also mentioned that Braun's father, Joe, was born in Tel Aviv and came to America as a young boy. But, the story went on to say, "Ryan was not raised Jewish and never had a bar mitzvah, but suddenly he's hearing from Jewish organizations claiming him as their own."
"He's totally not Jewish," Braun's mother was quoted as saying. "I heard some organization started called him, 'The Hebrew Hammer.' I said, 'Oh no.' My mother would be rolling over in her grave if she heard that."
Hmm. Well, whatever, keep hitting bombs Ryan. Shalom.