THE BLOG

The Hebrew Hammers

10/05/2013 06:39 pm ET | Updated Dec 05, 2013
  • Peter Dreier E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics, Occidental College

Breaking news!! Stop the presses!! (And not because it is the Jewish Sabbath).

What's all the fuss about? Hold onto your baseball caps!

According to the authoritative Jewish Baseball News, the 15 Jewish players on major league rosters batted .254 during the regular season that just ended.

Now compare this to the meager .253 batting average for all other major leaguers.

Statistically insignificant, you say? Making a Mount Sinai out of a molehill? Baloney!! (Hebrew National, of course).

The chosen people? Let's not go there.

But what about pitching? Here, too, the Jews outperformed the rest of their major league counterparts. The five Jewish pitchers had a 3.61 earned run average compared with the 3.86 ERA compiled by all major league pitchers. (The Hebrew hurlers had a combined 26-20 won-lost record).

Check out the individual statistics here.

Jews have been a constant presence on major league teams since Lipman Pike donned a uniform for the Troy Haymakers in 1871 and hung up his spikes 15 years later with a career .322 batting average. The Jewish gene pool also brought us Hall of Famers Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax, and recent super-stars Shawn Green and Ryan Braun.

The number of Jewish players on major league teams has been increasing in recent years. This season, even without the five pitchers, there were enough Jews to form a minyan.

Looking for a list of the greatest Jewish baseball players in history? You can find the Jewish All-Time All-Star team here.

Peter Dreier teaches politics at Occidental College and is the author of The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books, 2012).

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