Recently we took a look at the top 10 most important Jews in sports. Today we look at the most important current Jewish franchises in sports. What constitutes as a Jewish franchise? Really anything from a Jewish owner, history, players, announcers, food, or anything else that the team is associated with. Here is your list beginning with the Honorable Mentions: Chicago White Sox, New York Knicks, Washington Redskins, Montreal Canadiens, and New York Mets.
10) Miami Heat - The Heat are listed at #10 because of owner Mickey Arison. He made a big splash this off-season by signing Wade, Bosh, and that James fellow. James then started to see a rabbi. Coincidence…I think so.
9) Dallas Cowboys - The Cowboys currently employee two NFL’s Jewish players in Igor Olshanky and Kyle Kosier. Olshansky is well recognized and so to should the ‘Boys.
8) Texas Rangers - While there are back and forth rumors about Scott Feldman, all credible sources say he is in fact Jewish. Add him with All Star Ian Kinsler, the Rangers could actually have been a little higher up on the list.
7) San Diego Chargers - The Chargers are the last NFL team to have an Pro Bowler in David Binn. I am a big believer in accomplishments. Having so few Jewish NFLers it is nice knowing one made it to a pro bowl. They also have Antonio Garay in the mix.
6) New England Patriots - Julian Edelman’s emergence helped the Patriots gain Jewish recognition. But it is owner Robert Kraft that surges the Pats to #6. Kraft is a big giver to the Jewish and Israeli communities. That takes the Pats to #6.
5) Boston Red Sox - In 2006 the Red Sox had 4 players on their roster in Kevin Youkilis, Craig Breslow, Adam Stern, and Gabe Kapler. Breslow, Stern, and Kapler are all gone but Youkilis remains. Arguably the most recognizable Jewish baseball player in the last 20 years. Youkilis was briefly joined by Scott Schoeneweisthis season. I didn’t even mention GM Theo Epstein.
4) New Jersey Nets - As recently as last year the Nets had a Jewish owner and coach. That puts them in the running right off the bat. They got rid of Frank but added Jordan Farmar, giving the Jewish fans what they want. A Jewish NBA player in NY/NJ area.
3) New York Yankees - I am sure Yankee fans will disagree with me here but the Yankees only make it to number #3 on this year’s list. I will give them Ron Blomberg, but they haven’t had a really recognizable player in a while. They definitely have the most Jewish fans and tons of kosher food, so they make the list. It was actually Yuri Foreman’s Yankee Stadium fight that got them this high.
2) Sacramento Kings - The Kings would never have been on this list before Omri Casspi. But Casspi made the Kings synonymous with Israel. Jewish fans flock to Kings games in Sacramento and all over the country (and Canada). He has sparked Jewish Heritage nights galore. Also, Israel flags are a staple at games. Throw in the fact that they had Slyven Landesberg tryout and play on their rookie summer team, makes the Kings #2 on this list.
1) Los Angeles Dodgers - Yes, I know that Sandy Koufax retired a long time ago. But when anyone who has any idea that there are Jews in sports knows that Koufax was a Dodger and probably the greatest pitcher of all time. Maybe one day the Yankees, Kings, or some other team will replace the image of Koufax postponing a World Series start for Yom Kippur, but for know they continue to reign supreme. Shawn Green carried on that legacy in 2001.
And Let Us Say…Amen.
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