Posted by Jeremy Fine
On October 16th Maccabi Haifa will be coming to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves. While my synagogue (Temple of Aaron) and many other Jewish organizations get ready for the big game, I thought I would make an all-time Israel team made up of some Israelis and some non-Israelis who were in the Holy Land to play ball.
Center – Tom Chambers – Chambers was not only a legitmate NBA player. He averaged over 18 points and 6 rebounds during his NBA career. The 4 time NBA all-star spent the 95-96 season playing with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Forward – Cedric Ceballos – Ceballos played in 1 NBA all-star game but was most famous for his blindfolded dunk to win the 1992 dunk contest. After more than 10 years in the NBA, Ceballos played for Maccabi TA in 2002.
Forward - Willie Anderson – After more than 10 seasons in the NBA Anderson played his final years in Greece and Israel. Anderson averaged over 12 points a game during his NBA career.
Guard – Anthony Parker – Parker is a Maccabi TA on the Euro map, well he re-placed them on the map. His legendary status in Israel and Europe remains and he is still currently a productive player in the NBA.
Guard - Will Bynum – Bynum didn’t play long for Maccabi TA but it propelled him into the NBA where he currently plays for the Detroit Pistons. He is one of a few natural point guards on the list and we chose him over Farmar and Arroyo.
Photo from NBA.com
Guard - Carlos Arroyo – Arroyo has bounced from the NBA to other various leagues. He is a consistent PG wherever he goes.
Center - Tal Brody – Brody skipped out on the NBA but was the reason Maccabi Tel Aviv and Israeli basketball in general ever became noteworthy.
Forward - Omri Casspi – The first Israeli ever to play in the NBA, Casspi is currently with the Cleveland Cavs.
Forward - Richard Dumas – While his NBA career was short he had a tremendous rookie campaign averaging 15.8 ppg and 4.6 rpg. He played briefly for Hapoel Holon.
Guard - Jordan Farmar – Farmar played with Maccabi TA during the NBA strike. He has been a solid backup in the NBA with the Lakers and Nets, however to looks to be headed to Turkey.
Guard - Šarūnas Jasikevičius – He only played in the NBA for a 3 seasons, but he continues to be a European star. He is currently in Barcelona after being a major player for Maccabi TA.
Guard - Roger Mason Jr. – Mason’s stay at Hapoel Jerusalem led him to the NBA where he recently signed with the New Orleans Hornets.
Forward - Ira Newble – Newable played 9 years in the NBA and in 2009 had a stint with Bnei Sharon.
Guard - Doron Sheffer – One of the greatest Israeli players ever. After his days at UConn he passed on the NBA and went to Israel. He played a short while before retiring.
Forward - Billy Thompson – After 6 years in the NBA he traveled Europe playing ball. He averaged 8.6 ppg and 5.4 rpg while playing for the Lakers, Heat, and Warriors. He is also a 2X NBA Champion abd BCAA Champion.
And Let Us Say…Amen.
- Jeremy Fine
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August 15, 2012 | 7:46 am
Posted by Jeremy Fine
Its summer time and the baseballs are flying. Another solid season for Jewish MLBers. We caught up with a man who knows Jewish MLBers just as well as anyone. Peter Ephross is a nice guy who knows writing and baseball. Here is what he has to say:
1) Tell TGR a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in Columbia, MD, so I was originally a Baltimore Orioles fan, rooting for Earl Weaver’s great teams that featured Jim Palmer and Brooks and Frank Robinson, and later, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken. For most of my childhood, I was a member of the Habonim Dror labor Zionist youth movement. I spent a year in Israel on Kibbutz Gesher Haziv before I went to the University of Michigan, where I earned a BA in history. I also have an MA in history from Brandeis. I currently live in Brooklyn, NY with my wife and two sons. Professionally, I was a longtime editor for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news service. I’ve published hundreds of articles in more than 20 publications and Web sites, including Publishers Weekly, the Village Voice, and the Forward.
2) What inspired you to write “Jewish Major Leaguers in Their Own Words?”
When Martin Abramowitz, the founder of Jewish Major Leaguers, asked me to take on the project and edit the collection, I was thrilled. As a lifelong follower of Jews in sports, it was a dream come true.
3) Whose story was the most compelling?
Elliott Maddox’s. His explanation of how he, an African-American player, converted to Judaism makes for fascinating reading.
4) What was the most shocking story?
Learning that Saul Rogovin, who played in the 1940s and 1950s, competed with narcolepsy, which wasn’t diagnosed until after he retired from baseball.
5) What’s next for you and the book?
I’ll continue to get the word out about my book with appearances at synagogues and other Jewish events. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like me to speak at your event.
6) Who is your current favorite Jewish ball player and why?
As a Mets and Red Sox fan, I’ll give you two: Ike Davis and Kevin Youkilis, even though the latter was recently traded to the White Sox. Both play the game with passion.
7) How do you think Israel will fair in the WBC?
My heart says a championship, but my head says quarter-finals.
August 5, 2012 | 9:21 am
Posted by Jeremy Fine
Mitch Glasser is not just living out his dream, he is living out mine. Born and raised in Chicago. Moved to Minnesota and then gets drafted by his favorite team, the Chicago White Sox. Seriously, I could not have scripted it any better. Mitch is a great guy and motivated by his dream of playing for the Sox (or running them someday). He also has deep Jewish roots which makes us at TGR even more of a fan. Here is the story of the life I have dreamed about since I was a kid, actually being lived out by Mitch Glasser.
1) Tell TGR a little bit about yourself.
I’m 22 years old. I was born in Chicago and named after Cubs relief pitcher Mitch “Wildthing” Williams. My mom is a Sox fan, my dad is a Cubs fan. I grew up a Sox fan my whole life. When my dad brought me to the bleachers at Wrigley, I always wore my Sox stuff. Went to Macalester College—Psychology major and Religious studies minor.
2) What got you into baseball and when did you know you had a shot to play in college?
My Grandpa taught me how to play baseball at a young age. I have fond memories of playing catch and him throwing me tennis ball batting practice in my grandparents backyard. Although I’m lefty in everything, he made me a righty/righty in baseball. He claims it was so I could play more positions. I wish I hit lefty though.
3) What was draft day like?
It was surreal. I couldn’t watch, so I went to the cages (BASH sports academy) and had my buddy throw me batting practice. When I thought the draft was long done, my buddy from college texted me and said congrats. That was the first time I heard it!
4) What are your future baseball/life goals?
I love playing baseball. However, I think I’m a better coach. I would love to one day open up my own baseball academy. If that doesn’t work out, I guess I’d settle for becoming the 2nd greatest Jewish GM of all time.
5) Who would you rather start a team with Sandy Koufax or Hank Greenberg?
Easy question. Koufax so I wouldn’t have to face him. I heard his fastball rose in the air…No thank you.
6) Ian Kinsler or Ryan Braun?
Both. Hopefully they both play for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic!
7) What was your Jewish upbringing like? How important is your Judaism?
I went to a Jewish day school in Chicago for 11 years. where I learned hebrew and Jewish tradition. In college I took a few classes about Jewish identity with an amazing Rabbi/Professor. There happended to be quite a few Jews on the Macalester baseball team. Some practiced more than others…practiced Judaism that is. We did several Shabbats together at my house.
8) Whats next for you?
I just got news that the White Sox are going to sign me for spring training 2013. I think I’ll do that…it’s only my dream
9) I recently moved to Minnesota, any places I should check out?
Crossroads Deli in Minnetonka! One of the best brunch buffets I’ve ever seen. And I’m a brunch guy. But what Jewish man isn’t? Also, you might want to check out Macalester College’s baseball field. It is one of the most interesting fields in the country—40 foot fences all the way around. That 3 feet taller than the Green Monster at Fenway.
10) I ask all Chicago athletes this; favorite Chicago style pizza?
Deep Dish at Bacinos in Lincoln Park.
11) Any thing else you want to tell TGR?
The US better look out for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic.
Thank you to Mitch for his time. We at TGR are hoping to see you in the Big Leagues soon.
And Let Us Say…Amen.
- Jeremy Fine