The seventh edition of Jewish Major Leaguer Baseball Cards – a 50-card set largely focused on events in baseball involving Jewish players over the last four years, will be released on March 15.
The 2010 edition, the fifth update, was thought to be the last. But popular demand, contributions and encouragement from supporters, and a whole new crop of players along with World Baseball Classic participation has led to a new, 2014 edition, available now for pre-order.
“We are the first candidate for 2014 Comeback of the Year,” said Martin Abramowitz, who has curated and produced all of the sets since conceiving the original idea in his Newton, Massachusetts home, where he collected the old Topps, Bowman, Goudey, Play Ball, Fleer and other vintage cards of Jewish players.
Before Brad Ausmus became manager of the Detroit Tigers, before Kevin Youkilis became the first Jewish Yankee in 36 years, before Israel competed in the World Baseball Classic Qualifier, before you could find a dozen or more Jewish players in each Major League season, before there was a professional league in Israel, before the president of the Baseball Hall of Fame joined the Commissioner of Baseball and the head of the Players Union as “members of the tribe”, before there were Cooperstown symposiums, oral histories, documentary films and books – there was the historic 2003 release of Jewish Major Leaguer Baseball Cards.
And that release, which quickly sold out and became a standard bar-mitzvah, Fathers’s Day and Chanukah gift, created a national dialogue, and seemed to set in motion a series of events that are now part of baseball’s cultural experience.
The new 50-card set has updated team information for the likes of active players Youkilis (now in Japan), Ian Kinsler, Danny Valencia, Scott Feldman, Sam Fuld, Jason Marquis, Ryan Braun, Ike Davis, Ryan Lavarnway, Kevin Pillar, Ryan Kalish, Josh Zeid, Josh Satin, and Nate Freiman; cards providing an all-time roster; career leaders; Jewish managers (Lipman Pike, Lou Boudreau, Lefty Phillips and Norm Sherry join Ausmus in this small club); “in memorium cards for Joe Ginsberg, Marv Rotblatt and Al Federoff; and Jewish pitcher-catcher combinations including the Red Sox Breslow and Lavarnway. There is also a Jewish link to the Negro Leagues in the person of Max Rosner.
There are also cards featuring artifacts from Chasing Dreams, the major exhibition at Philadelphia’s National Museum of American Jewish History, with items on loan from the American Jewish Historical Society. The two institutions jointly sponsor this edition, which presents recognition of the importance of baseball in the history of Jewish American life.
“Baseball is an important part of the history of the American Jewish experience,” said Rachel Lithgow, Executive Director of the American Jewish Historical Society. “We’re proud both to have sponsored the first edition and to be co-sponsoring this one with the National Museum of American Jewish History. ”
“The Museum Store is thrilled to be able to offer the new 2014 edition of the Jewish Major Leaguer Player cards,” said Kristen Kreider, Director of Retail Operations at the NMAJH. “The total success of the previous editions resulted in the Store adding a designated baseball section, showcasing baseball related books and merchandise, with the cards as the anchor. The updated version, co-produced by NMAJH, already promises to be a best seller during the Chasing Dreams exhibition, and beyond.”
The cards are licensed by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association.
The cards are $36 for one set plus $5 shipping, available by credit card via Paypal at Jewishmajorleaguers.com, or by check sent to JML Inc., 104 Greenlawn Avenue, Newton, MA 02459. Two sets are $50 (plus $5 shipping), three sets $75 plus $5, four sets $92 plus $8, five sets $115 plus $10, and six sets $140 plus $10. Larger orders for gift shops and retail outlets should write to [email protected] for information.
You can see some past issues on eBay here.