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Ian Kinsler races home on a single, shortly after recording his record-setting 163rd stolen base (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Ian Kinsler races home on a single shortly after recording his record-setting 163rd stolen base (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

By Scott Barancik, editor

Ian Kinsler became the career leader in stolen bases among Jewish players Monday night (7/22/2013) with his 163rd theft in 200 attempts (box score).

The 31-year-old Texas Ranger drew a first-inning walk off of New York Yankees pitcher Ivan Nova, promptly stole second off of catcher Chris Stewart, and then scored on a single by Adrian Beltre. The steal nudged Kinsler ahead of retired slugger Shawn Green, who dropped to 2nd on the career leader list (see below).


Career stolen base leaders (thru 7/22/2013)

 
Player
SB
CS
SB%
1Ian Kinsler (A)1633781.5%
2Shawn Green1625275.7%
3Buddy Myer15710959.0%
4Ryan Braun (A)1303678.3%
5Brad Ausmus1025365.8%
6Gabe Kapler773072.0%
7Sammy Bohne755956.0%
8Elliott Maddox605452.6%
9Hank Greenberg582669.0%
10Lipman Pike501576.9%
Key: A=active player, SB=stolen bases, CS=caught stealing, SR=percentage successful
Source: JewishBaseballNews.com manipulation of Baseball-Reference.com data.


Kinsler climbed the career leader list with relative efficiency, reaching the top spot in his 8th MLB season (compared to Green’s 15th), his 4,502th plate appearance (Green had 7,963), and his 200th attempted steal (Green attempted 214), giving him a success rate of 81.5 percent (Green’s was an admirable 75.7 percent) .

Although there is video of Kinsler stealing his record-tying 162nd base — he tied the record on July 13 — MLB.com did not post video of the 163rd theft. By coincidence, Kinsler’s 162nd stolen base made him the Texas Rangers’ career leader.

Kinsler had attempted to steal his 162nd base on July 8 against former teammate (and fellow Jew) Scott Feldman, but Orioles catcher Matt Wieters tossed him out. The Arizona State alum had spent a month on the disabled list earlier this season.

Kinsler is one of only a dozen players in MLB history to twice hit 30 HRs and steal 30 bases in the same season (2009, 2011), making him a two-time member of the “30/30 club.”

Year Tm AB HR RBI SB CS
2006 TEX 423 14 55 11 4
2007 TEX 483 20 61 23 2
2008 TEX 518 18 71 26 2
2009 TEX 566 31 86 31 5
2010 TEX 391 9 45 15 5
2011 TEX 620 32 77 30 4
2012 TEX 655 19 72 21 9
2013 TEX 285 9 36 6 6
8 Yrs 3941 152 503 163 37
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/23/2013.


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Ian Kinsler stealing his record-tying 162nd base (7/13/2013); click photo to see video

Ian Kinsler stealing his record-tying 162nd base (7/13/2013); click photo to see video

By Scott Barancik, editor

The Eighth Commandment orders us not to steal. For Ian Kinsler, we make an exception.

When the 31-year-old Texas Ranger singled and stole second base uncontested in the 9th inning of Saturday’s win over the Detroit Tigers (see video), it was the 162nd theft of his felonious 8-year career. Rangers number-crunchers celebrated: the steal made Kinsler the team’s all-time leader, just ahead of Bump Wills‘ 161.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the swivel-hipped star is the son of a prison warden.

Saturday’s theft also left Kinsler tied with retired slugger Shawn Green for the career record among another tribe of players: Jews.


Career stolen base leaders (thru 7/22/2013)

 
Player
SB
CS
SB%
1Ian Kinsler (A)1633781.5%
2Shawn Green1625275.7%
3Buddy Myer15710959.0%
4Ryan Braun (A)1303678.3%
5Brad Ausmus1025365.8%
6Gabe Kapler773072.0%
7Sammy Bohne755956.0%
8Elliott Maddox605452.6%
9Hank Greenberg582669.0%
10Lipman Pike501576.9%
Key: A=active player, SB=stolen bases, CS=caught stealing, SR=percentage successful
Source: JewishBaseballNews.com manipulation of Baseball-Reference.com data.



Kinsler’s base-stealing prowess is well-documented. One of only a dozen players in MLB history to twice hit 30 HRs and steal 30 bases in the same season (2009, 2011), the second baseman has stalked the career record with remarkable efficiency, reaching base safely 81.4 percent of the time.


Career base-stealing success (thru 7/18/2013)

 
Player
SB
CS
SB%
1Morrie Arnovich170100.0%
2Goody Rosen140100.0%
3Harry Danning130100.0%
4Ian Kinsler (A)1623781.4%
5Ryan Kalish (A)13381.3%
6Ryan Braun (A)1263178.3%
Note: Includes players with at least 10 career stolen bases
Key: A=active player, SB=stolen bases, CS=caught stealing, SB%=percentage successful
Source: JewishBaseballNews.com manipulation of Baseball-Reference.com data



He also has been consistent, stealing bases within a narrow range of 11 to 31 per season (see below).

Year Tm AB HR RBI SB CS
2006 TEX 423 14 55 11 4
2007 TEX 483 20 61 23 2
2008 TEX 518 18 71 26 2
2009 TEX 566 31 86 31 5
2010 TEX 391 9 45 15 5
2011 TEX 620 32 77 30 4
2012 TEX 655 19 72 21 9
2013 TEX 270 9 36 5 6
8 Yrs 3926 152 503 162 37
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/18/2013.



Yet Kinsler’s crowning  comes at the nadir of his base-stealing arc. His 5 stolen bases in 307 at-bats this season are a career low. He’s been caught stealing 6 times so far in 2013, tying him for most in the American League. This dismal performance has been enough to knock him down from 10th on the all-time list of best career base-stealing percentages in MLB history at the start of 2013 (among players with 100+ thefts) to 26th today.

“I’ve got to keep running,” Kinsler recently told the Dallas Morning News. “My timing is a little off, and I really haven’t had many chances to go on a straight steal. Mostly they’ve been busted hit-and-runs or running with two strikes. My mentality isn’t quite there yet.”

If history is any guide, Kinsler will return to form soon. And when he steals his record-breaking 163rd, we’ll be there to cheer.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

If it seemed like Jewish ballplayers were smacking a lot of home runs this season, it wasn’t your imagination. Several records were broken or matched in 2012.

Jewish major leaguers (excluding pitchers) hit a combined 116 HRs, topping the prior record of 109 in 2011. Home-run hitting is a growing trend among Jewish players, with seven of the 10 biggest one-year totals coming since 2000 (see table).

Most Jewish HRs, by year*

Year
Total HRs
Biggest contributor
2012116Ryan Braun (41)
2011109Ryan Braun (33)
1999102Shawn green (42)
2009101Ryan Braun (32)
200898Ryan Braun (37)
193887Hank Greenberg (40)
201085Ryan Braun (25)
200783Ryan Braun (34)
195377Al Rosen (43)
200173Shawn Green (49)
* Excluding Jewish pitchers
Source: JewishBaseballNews.com

Two key figures behind this year’s home-run barrage were Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun, who smashed a career-high 41 HRs, and New York Mets 1B Ike Davis, who hit a career-high 32. Kevin Youkilis, who split the season between the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox, hit 19, and Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler followed with 18.

Braun’s 41 dingers made him the No. 1 home-run hitter among National League players in 2012. The last time a Jewish ballplayer led a league in HRs was 1953, when Cleveland Indians 3B Al Rosen hit 43 to lead the A.L.

Davis hit 19 HRs as a rookie in 2010 and spent much of the 2011 season on the disabled list. By the 2012 All-Star break he had 12 HRs, then pounded 20 more during the rest of the season to rank No. 5 among N.L. hitters (tie).

Braun and Davis made quite a pair. The only other time two Jewish players have hit at least 40 and 30 HRs, respectively, in a single MLB season was 2002, when Los Angeles Dodgers RF Shawn Green crushed 42, and Philadelphia Phillies C Mike Lieberthal hit 31. Braun (37) and Youkilis (29) came close in 2009, as did Al Rosen (37) and Boston Braves LF Sid Gordon (27) in 1950.

Braun’s 41 HRs launched him into a tie with Sid Gordon for No. 3 on the all-time Jewish HR leaders list, with 202. Detroit Tigers 1B Hank Greenberg leads the list with 331, followed closely by Shawn Green with 328.

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Team Israel's Nate Freiman gets a high five from bench coach Gabe Kapler after hitting the first of his two HRs on Wednesday night. (J. Gwendolynne Berry/The Palm Beach Post)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Team Israel defeated South Africa 7-3 on Wednesday night (9/19/2012) to take Game 1 of the World Baseball Classic qualifiers held in Jupiter, Fla. (see video recap and box score).

The greatest Jewish team in baseball history earned its victory both at the plate and on the mound, hitting a collective .278 while holding South Africa to just 3 hits and an .097 batting average. With the exception of a 9th-inning error, Team Israel dispatched grounders and fly balls with ease and worked well together despite its players’ relative unfamiliarity with one another.

San Diego Padres prospect Nate Freiman (1B) put Israel on the board with a solo HR in the 1st inning and followed up with another solo shot in the 9th (see video). Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Charlie Cutler (C) drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double down the right-field line in the 8th inning to break open the game (see video).

Strong pitching kept the score a close 1-0 through the sixth inning. South Africa starter Dylan Unsworth, a Seattle Mariners prospect, struck out 6 batters and walked none while scattering 5 hits across the six innings. Team Israel starter (and Cleveland Indians prospect) Eric Berger was lifted after three scoreless innings to avoid a 50-pitch threshold that, under WBC rules, would have kept him out of service for four days. Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Brett Lorin followed with two-and-a-third scoreless innings, and Houston Astros prospect Josh Zeid earned post-game kudos from manager Brad Ausmus for getting Team Israel out of a sixth-inning jam. Zeid entered the game with men on second and third and one out but retired the meat of South Africa’s order without giving up a run.

“A big momentum shift,” Ausmus said of Zeid’s stint.

Shlomo Lipetz, the only native Israeli to take the field Wednesday night, was charged with all three South African runs after giving up three walks in a shaky 9th-inning appearance. Teammates nevertheless greeted him with smiles and fist bumps after he was replaced by Israel’s sixth and final hurler of the 3-hour, 16-minute game, New York Mets prospect Jeff Kaplan.

Among the most anticipated appearances of the night was that of Team Israel player-coach Shawn Green (DH). The most accomplished person in uniform Wednesday — his 328 HRs over a 15-year MLB career are second only to Hank Greenberg‘s 331 among Jewish pros — Green also was the oldest, at 39, and hadn’t played baseball since retiring in 2007.

He looked overmatched in his first two trips at the plate, striking out on three pitches in the 2nd inning and grounding weakly into the evening’s only double play in the 4th. But Green’s baseball instincts seemed to take over afterward. After grounding-out sharply to shortstop in the 6th inning, he legged-out an infield single in the 8th inning, took second base on a passed ball, and scored on Cutler’s double. In the 9th inning, he added a bloop single to left field but proceeded to second base after South Africa’s Karl Weitz bobbled the ball, ending the night 2-for-5.

Team Israel’s second game will take place Friday (9/21) at 1:00pm EST against the winner of Thursday’s contest between Spain and France and will be streamed online at www.worldbaseballclassic.com. The eventual winner of the four-team, double-elimination qualifying tournament will advance to the main World Baseball Classic competition in March 2013.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

The long wait to see which players will represent Israel at World Baseball Classic qualifiers this week is over.

Team Israel’s 28-man roster (see below) includes two former Major Leaguers (player/coaches Shawn Green and Gabe Kapler), three Israelis, and 23 minor-leaguers. Because the MLB season is still underway, no current Major Leaguers are on the roster. Also missing are a number of Triple-A and even Double-A players whose teams wanted them around as potential call-ups later this month.

The double-elimination tournament takes place Sept. 19-23 in Jupiter, Fla., and pits Israel against teams from France, Spain, and South Africa. Whoever prevails will earn a spot in the main World Basic Classic competition, in November 2013. If Israel wins, the team it fields in 2013 likely will include a number of Major Leaguers (such as Kevin Youkilis, who already has committed to play) and Triple-A players.

Additional commentary on this week’s roster is shown below the table.

Team Israel: Roster for the WBC qualifying tourney
No.
Player
Pos.
Age
Hometown
Minor-league team
Parent club
27COLVIN, DavidRHP23Mill Valley, CAClinton LumberKings (A)Seattle Mariners
34KAPLAN, JeffRHP27Dana Point, CABinghamton Mets (AA)New York Mets
36KOPP, DavidRHP26Coral Springs, FLErie SeaWolves (AA)Detroit Tigers
16LEICHMAN, AlonRHP23Kibbutz Gezer, IsraelN.A.N.A.
22LIPETZ, ShlomoRHP33Tel Aviv, IsraelN.A.N.A.
10LORIN, BrettRHP25Laguna Niguel, CAMobile Bay Bears (AA)Arizona Diamondbacks
21PERLMAN, MaxRHP24Jupiter, FLStockton Ports (A+)Oakland A's
(-)ROTHEM, DanRHP35Tel Aviv, IsraelN.A.N.A.
26SCHUMER, JustinRHP24Houston, TXSan Jose Giants (A+)San Francisco Giants
28ZEID, JoshRHP25New Haven, CTCorpus Christi Hooks (AA)Houston Astros
14BERGER, EricLHP26Goldsboro, NCColumbus Clippers (AAA)Cleveland Indians
35BLEIER, RichardLHP25Davie, FLFrisco Roughriders (AA)Texas Rangers
17GOULD, JeremyLHP24Buffalo Grove, ILSavannah Sand Gnats (A)New York Mets
29URLAUB, JeffLHP25Scottsdale, AZStockton Ports (A+)Oakland A's
37CUTLER, CharlieC26San Fransico, CAAltoona Curve (AA)Pittsburgh Pirates
3MARDER, JackC/IF22Calabasas, CAHigh Desert Mavericks (A+)Seattle Mariners
19RICKLES, NickC22Ft. Lauderdale, FLBurlington Bees (A+)Oakland A's
6DECKER, Cody1B25Santa Monica, CASan Antonio Missions (AA)San Diego Padres
25FREIMAN, Nate1B25Wellesley, MASan Antonio Missions (AA)San Diego Padres
9ORLOFF, Ben2B25Simi Valley, CACorpus Christi Hooks (AA)Houston Astros
2SATIN, Josh2B27Hidden Hills, CABuffalo Bisons (AAA)New York Mets
33HAERTHER, Casey3B24West Hills, CAArkansas Travelers (AA)Los Angeles Angels
7LEMMERMAN, JakeSS23Coronoa del Mar, CAChattanooga Lookouts (AA)Los Angeles Dodgers
15GREEN, ShawnOF39Des Plaines, ILN.A.N.A.
24GUEZ, BenOF25Houston, TXToledo Mud Hens (AAA)Detroit Tigers
18KAPLER, GabeOF37Hollywood, CAN.A.N.A.
31PEDERSON, JocOF20Palo Ato, CARancho Cucamonga Quakes (A+)Los Angeles Dodgers
23WIDLANSKY, RobbieOF/3B27Plantation, FLBowie Baysox (AA)Baltimore Orioles

Here are some other facts and observations on Team Israel’s roster for the qualifiers:

  • Of the 23 minor leaguers on the roster, three ended the 2012 season with a Triple-A team, 12 at the Double-A level, six at A-advanced, and two with a Single-A team.
  • Adam Greenberg, a former Major Leaguer who is trying to mount a comeback, was invited to Jupiter for tryouts but is not on the roster.
  • Josh Satin, who played briefly for the New York Mets in 2011 and 2012, is the only player with MLB experience.
  • The youngest player on the roster is 20-year-old outfielder Joc Pederson, who is ranked the Los Angeles Dodgers’ No. 3 prospect by MLB.com. The oldest player is 39-year-old Shawn Green, whose 15-year MLB career included five seasons with the Dodgers and ended with the New York Mets in 2007. Green’s 328 career HRs are second only to Hank Greenberg’s 331 among Jewish ballplayers.
  • Israeli player Alon Leichman plays for Cypress College, a community college in California.
  • During the qualifiers for the 2012 European Championship, Israeli pitcher Shlomo Lipetz was masterful, giving up just one earned run over 16-and-a-third innings while striking out 18 and walking three.
  • Three players on Team Israel are 6-foot-7-inches tall: pitchers Brett Lorin and Max Perlman, and 1B Nate Freiman. At 5-foot-8-inches, Alon Leichman is the shortest.
  • Nate Freiman and Cody Decker, teammates on the San Antonio Missions (AA), finished 2nd and 3rd in HRs this season among Texas League players.

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