When New York Mets infielder Josh Satin hit his second Major League home run on Aug. 21, it was hard to know what was more noteworthy: the fact that the Jewish player from Hidden Hills was a relatively old 28 or that there was a fan with a “Hail Satin” sign in the stands.
For Satin and his family, this answer is clear. This summer’s extended call up to the big leagues has been the exclamation point on a baseball career filled with twists and turns in the minors.
“You’ve got to keep your dream until you fail, and he hasn’t failed,” said David Satin, Josh’s father.
Satin’s promising career began at Harvard-Westlake School in Studio City. There he was a three-time all-league selection and played alongside future Major League outfielder Brennan Boesch.
Growing up, Satin said he looked for inspiration to the likes of eight-time All-Star Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves and Shawn Green, a fellow Jew who played part of his career for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Mets.
“I’d look up to them and try to emulate them,” Satin said during a phone interview.
Things got slightly sidetracked at the University of California, Berkeley, when he was forced to take an injury redshirt season. Still, he returned to play second base for the Golden Bears, batting .348 in a season that saw him named a 2005 PAC 10 Conference All-Star. In 2008, he did even better, batting .379 his senior year. He was named a conference All-Star again and NCAA first-team college All-American.
Then, at the ripe old age of 23, Satin was drafted by the New York Mets in the sixth round. (This same year, Ike Davis, who also is Jewish, was signed by the Mets in the first round.)
Having his son drafted by a pro club was a proud moment for Satin’s father.
“How I felt about it is euphoric,” he said. “We’ve been hoping for this for a long time.”
Making it to the majors would take a little longer. Since signing his first contract, he’s spent time playing for the Kingsport Mets (Tennessee), Brooklyn Cyclones (New York), Savannah Sand Gnats (Georgia), St. Lucie Mets (Florida), Binghamton Mets (New York), Buffalo Bisons (New York) and Las Vegas 51s (Nevada).
It was in 2011 that Satin got his first taste of the big leagues, playing in 15 games. Last year, he was back — but only for one game. In fact, it was only for one at bat, and he struck out.
He also played for team Israel in a 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament.
This past June, Satin was called back again to play for the Mets, replacing Davis. And he’s made the most of it, hitting close to .300. Earlier this month, Satin tied a Mets rookie record by reaching base in 29 consecutive games that he started.
No matter what happens next with regard to how he and Davis are used in the future, Satin said he just cares about the success of the team.
“We’re both here to help the team, and we’re going to do what we can to help,” he said. “He’s one of my best friends on the team.”
Being a Jewish player in the major leagues is a small brotherhood — one that got a little smaller this season with the suspension of the “Hebrew Hammer” Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers for using performance-enhancing drugs.
“It’s a shame, obviously, but I have a lot of respect for him and what he’s done for the game, but they’ve got to clean it up” Satin said.
The media in New York is already speculating about Satin’s future and how big a role he’ll play with the Mets going forward. No matter what happens, Satin insists it hasn’t changed him.
“Everything I do is pretty regular,” he said. “I woke up this morning, went to the Laundromat, did my laundry and went to Starbucks for a cup of coffee.” n