A minyan of Jewish Major Leaguers started the season in the big leagues this season (although Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler started his on the disabled list). They were joined towards the end of April by Ike Davis, a first baseman for the NY Mets.
The inaugural month presented a very mixed bag, depending on whether you like pitching or offense.
The batters, led by Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun (.355 batting average, five home runs, and 20 RBI) and Boston’s Kevin Youkilis (.270/3/12), posted a collective .301 batting average with 18 doubles, 10 round-trippers, seven stolen bases, and 42 RBI. Davis, who made his debut on April 19, hit .324/1/6. Gabe Kapler, a part-time outfielder with the Tampa Bay Rays, hit .222.
On the down side, Los Angeles Dodgers Brad Ausmus, who tied Shawn Green’s JML record for most games (1,951), played in just that one contest before being placed on the DL with neck and back problems that required surgery. At the age of 40, and facing a long recovery time, this could mean the end of his 18-year Major League playing career.
The pitchers, on the other hand, were dreadful, losing eight of 10 decisions with no saves, an ERA of more than 7.00, and a WHIP (walks+hits per inning) of 1.89. Most of these numbers were attributed to Washington Nationals’ right-hander Jason Marquis, who lost all three of his starts, allowing 18 hits and 19 earned runs in just 8.1 innings before going on the disabled list. The other Jewish starter, Scott Feldman (Texas), was 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA. Relief pitchers offered little: Scott Schoeneweis (Boston, 1-2/3.72); John Grabow (Chicago Cubs, 0-2/6.23); and Craig Breslow (Oakland A’s, 0-1/4.70).
For daily updates on Jewish Major Leaguers and other sports, visit Kaplan’s Korner on Jews and Sports.