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The 16 Jewish Cubs

The first Jewish Cub

The first Jewish Cub

By Scott Barancik, Editor

On September 5, 1927, Lefty Weinert tossed a 6-1, complete-game win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the first game of a doubleheader at Wrigley Field, yielding 5 hits and no earned runs.

It wasn’t just the 25-year-old southpaw’s Chicago Cubs premiere. It also marked the very first Jewish appearance in this storied franchise’s history.

Another lengthy dry spell would follow. The next Jewish Cub didn’t appear until September 7, 1942, when 23-year-old third baseman Cy Block went 2-for-4 with an RBI double in his Major League debut.

In time, the numbers grew. Through 2016, a total of 16 Jewish players had worn a Cubs uniform. The most recent: outfielder Ryan Kalish, who first played for Chicago in 2014 and earned a .444 on-base percentage in 10 plate appearances during the 2016 regular season.

 

Jewish Cubs

  1. Ryan Kalish, OF (2014, 2016)
  2. Scott Feldman, P (2013)
  3. John Grabow, P (2009-11)
  4. Sam Fuld, CF (2007, 2009-10)
  5. Jason Marquis, P (2007-08)
  6. Adam Greenberg, CF (2005)
  7. Andrew Lorraine, P (1999-2000)
  8. Jose J. Bautista, P (1993-94)
  9. Ken Holtzman, P (1965-71, 1978-79)
  10. Dave A. Roberts, P (1977-78)
  11. Steve Stone, P (1974-76)
  12. Art Shamsky, 1B (1972)
  13. Ed Mayer, P (1957-58)
  14. Hy Cohen, P (1955)
  15. Cy Block, 3B (1942, 1945-46)
  16. Lefty Weinert, P (1927-28)

The roster of Jewish Cubs is dominated by pitchers. Over the decades, a total of 11 hurlers have combined for 165 wins against 156 losses and a 4.07 ERA. Kenny Holtzman tossed two of the franchise’s 10 no-hitters and racked up 80 wins, tying him for 23rd-most in Cub history. Steve Stone, who also pitched for the White Sox, played three seasons with the Cubs before going on to earn a Cy Young Award with the Baltimore Orioles.

A partial box score from <a href=

Lefty Weinert's Chicago Cub debut on September 5, 1927 (click for full box score)" width="300" height="209" srcset="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/weinert-box-300x209.jpg 300w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/weinert-box-120x84.jpg 120w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/weinert-box.jpg 406w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /> A partial box score from Lefty Weinert’s Chicago Cub debut on September 5, 1927 (click image for full box score)

Pitchers are so dominant on the list that they account for 75 percent of all at-bats by Jewish Cubs — and eight of nine Jewish home runs. Position players have hit .253 with a .343 on-base percentage for the Cubs but managed just one home run in 328 combined at-bats, a solo shot by CF Sam Fuld on the last day of the 2009 regular season.

Art Shamsky burned the Cubs twice. In 1969, the outfielder hit .300 with the New York Mets to help deliver Chicago its most devastating late-season collapse. In 1972, in the twilight of his career, Shamsky managed just two hits in his only 16 at-bats as a Cub.

Ryan Kalish played for the Cubs in 2014 and 2016

Ryan Kalish played for the Cubs in 2014 and 2016

Theo Epstein, the Cubs’ president of baseball operations, assembled the roster that led to the team’s 2016 World Series triumph. There were no Jewish players in uniform during the Cubs’ playoff run, however. Kalish, who hit .368 at Triple-A in 2016, was left off the Major League roster and declared his free agency on October 11.

There was one Jewish Cub in a World Series, if only briefly. Cy Block entered Game 6 of the 1945 Series against Hank Greenberg‘s Detroit Tigers as a pinch-runner in the 9th inning with the score tied 7-7. Although he didn’t cross home plate, Chicago went on to beat Detroit 8-7 in 12 innings despite a Greenberg home run.

Detroit, of course, won Game 7, launching what would be a 70-year World Series drought for the Cubs that would finally end, gloriously, in 2016.

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Jason Marquis" src="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/marquis-mug-150x150.jpg" alt="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/players/jason-marquis/" width="150" height="150" />

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Jason Marquis signed a one-year, $3-million deal with the Minnesota Twins last week. The Twins will be his 7th team over a 12-year major-league career but first in the American League.

A left-hander with a career 4.55 ERA and 104-98 record, Marquis split last season between the Washington Nationals and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 33-year-old went a combined 8-6 with a 4.43 ERA but spent the end of the season on the disabled list after a line drive broke his right fibula.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan called Marquis a “ground-ball machine” and predicted that Target Field breadth would serve him well.

Marquis is expected to pitch fifth in the Twins’ starting rotation. The team finished 2011 in last place in the A.L. Central division.

In May 2011, Marquis became the fifth Jewish pitcher in MLB history to win 100 games and the first to do so since Steve Stone in 1980. He ranks 5th in career wins among Jewish pitchers and needs only 2 more to tie the late Dave Roberts for 4th place.

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Jason Marquis" src="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/marquis-mug.jpg" alt="Jason Marquis" width="194" height="263" />

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Jason Marquis became the 5th Jewish pitcher to win 100 games on Tuesday (5/10/2011), leading the Washington Nationals to a 7-6 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Marquis, who spent the first 4 years of his MLB career with Atlanta, held the Braves to one run through the first 7 innings. He left after giving up a single and double with one out in the 8th.

Tuesday’s win put the 32-year-old Manhasset, N.Y., native in good company: Marquis ranks 5th in career wins among Jewish pitchers and needs only 8 more to move into 3rd place. He is the first Jew to reach 100 wins since Steve Stone did so 31 years ago.

The Jewish pitchers with the most wins are:

Pitcher Wins Losses W/L %
Ken Holtzman (1965-79) 174 150 53.7%
Sandy Koufax (1955-66) 165 87 65.5%
Steve Stone (1971-81) 107 93 53.5%
Dave A. Roberts (1969-81) 103 125 45.2%
Jason Marquis (2000- ) 100 93 51.8%
Barney Pelty (1903-12) 92 117 44.0%

Marquis has bounced back nicely from 2010, when he went 2-9 with a 6.60 ERA and spent nearly 4 months on the disabled list after having elbow surgery.

So far this season he is 4-1 with a 3.66 ERA on a Nationals team that is 17-18. He ranks 6th among N.L. pitchers in fewest walks per 9 innings (1.60) and 9th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.714/tie). On April 29, Marquis pitched a complete-game shutout against two-time Cy Young Award winner Tin Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants.

Thanks to Jewish Baseball News reader Jack W. for the tip on Marquis’ milestone.

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Matzoh Balls and Baseballs

Support Jewish Baseball News by clicking on this image and buying Matzoh Balls and Baseballs at Amazon.com.

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Baseball, as we all know, is a stats-obsessed sport.

Fans tend to be more interested in a player’s career HR total or on-base percentage than in his personal journey to the Majors.

That’s one of the nice things about Matzoh Balls and Baseballs, a book recently published by longtime Georgia State University broadcaster Dave Cohen. Cohen sat down with 17 retired Jewish pros, turned on a tape recorder, and, with a minimum of questions, let them talk.

The result is a Q&A format where athletes like Elliott Maddox and Cy Young Award winner Steve Stone tell us their stories in their own words.

Maddox, for example, discusses his conversion to Judaism, why his mother was so supportive of it, and what it was like to play minor-league ball in Rocky Mount, N.C., where a billboard welcomed visitors to “Klan country.”

Barry Latman talks about striking out 19 batters during a perfect game in high school, his unlikely friendship with Ty Cobb, and how his grandfather temporarily disowned him when he dropped out of the University of Southern California.

Norm Miller tells about “Gibsonitis” (the paralyzing fear of facing pitcher Bob Gibson), being one of four Jews on the Houston Astros’ 1967 roster, and being in the dugout when Hank Aaron hit his record-breaking 715th home run.

Other players Cohen interviewed include Larry Yellen, Ron Blomberg, Jim Gaudet (who converted to Judaism after his MLB  career), Richie Scheinblum, Joe Ginsberg, Ross Baumgarten, Mike Epstein, Ken Holtzman, Norm Sherry, Steve Hertz, Don Taussig, Norm Miller, Morris Savransky, and Al Rosen.

In short, Dave Cohen has interviewed roughly 10 percent of all the Jews who ever played major-league baseball. And for $10.76, you can read what they have to say.

Note: Support Jewish Baseball News by clicking this Amazon.com link and buying Matzoh Balls and Baseballs there. Amazon will pay JBN a small commission (about 43 cents).

Disclosure: Havenhurst Books provided Jewish Baseball News with a free review copy of Matzoh Balls and Baseballs. No other consideration was provided.

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