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By Scott Barancik, Editor

In 1871, Lip Pike was considered a slugger. An outfielder with the Troy Haymakers, the 5’8″ rookie led the National Association that season with four home runs, which also happened to be the first four round-trippers ever hit by a Jewish baseball player.

Flash forward 145 years to Sept. 10, 2016 — also known as last Saturday — when another red-hot Jewish rookie came to the plate. Host Houston and the Cubs were tied 0-0 in the bottom of the third when the Astros’ Alex Bregman took a 92mph two-seam fastball from Chicago’s John Lackey and parked it in the right-center seats. Houston never squandered the lead, finishing with a 2-1 win.

Bregman’s 384-foot shot wasn’t just a clutch hit for a playoff-hungry club in front of a hometown crowd. It was the 3,000th Jewish homer in Major League history.

The numbers continue to swell.

In fact, Jewish players are on pace to set a single-season record in 2016. Through games played September 14, they hit a combined 106 home runs, just seven short of the 113 hit in 2012. Three players — Ryan Braun (27), Ian Kinsler (26), and Joc Pederson (22) — have more than 20 apiece, while Danny Valencia is within striking distance at 16.

Jewish HRs, by year

Year
HRs
2016*106
201581
201456
201347
2012113
201194
201078
2009101
2008100
200784
200655
200541
200463
200340
200266
200173
200060
1999102
199850
199745
199626
199521
199410
19936
19928
19910
19900
19890
19880
19870
19860
19850
19841
19833
19826
19813
198019
197923
197818
19779
19760
19759
197421
197334
197254
197136
197040
196950
196831
196713
196622
19652
19640
19634
19626
19617
19609
19593
19584
19571
195616
195535
195456
195377
195262
195169
195065
194926
194830
194739
194654
194537
194413
19439
19424
194111
194054
193957
193881
193764
19363
193541
193427
193318
19329
19318
19304
19295
19289
19270
19265
19252
19244
19235
19227
19213
19200
19190
19180
19170
19160
19157
19145
19131
19126
19110
19100
19090
19080
19070
19060
19050
19040
19030
19020
19010
19000
18990
18980
18970
18960
18950
18940
18930
18920
18910
18900
18890
18880
18870
18860
18850
18840
18830
18820
18810
18800
18790
18781
18774
18761
18750
18741
18734
18727
18714
TOTAL*3004
* Through games played 9/14/2016
Source: JewishBaseballNews.com

The 3,004 home runs hit through 9/14/2016 were slugged by these Major League players. The tally excludes home runs hit by David Newhan after 1999, when he began identifying as a Messianic Jew. It also excludes home runs hit by Jim Gaudet, who converted to Judaism after his playing career ended.

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