Miller Doc Reminds of Jewish Stars, Heroes

This past weekend, award-winning documentarian Peter Miller, OC ’84, came to Oberlin to screen his new film Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story, an exploration of the relationship between Jewish Americans and our nation’s pastime. Through interviews with Jewish players past and present, as well as other Jewish-American personalities and even baseball-loving rabbis, Miller provides a vivid account of the special place Jews have had in the game — along with equally harrowing and inspiring tales of the bigotry they faced and the heroism they displayed. To complement this special event, the Review outlines some of the greatest Jewish athletes in American sports history.

Chris Landers, Sports Editor

Dana Torres

The most decorated Jewish Olympian of all time, Torres swam her way to 12 medals over the course of five Olympic Games, the fifth-highest total in American history.

Sandy Koufax

Koufax, who played his entire 12-year career with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, was one of the best left-handed pitchers of all time. He won three Cy Young awards, the 1963 National League MVP award, threw four no-hitters and is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He also famously elected not to pitch in Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur.

“Hammerin’” Hank Greenberg

Arguably the first Jewish sports star, Greenberg was a dominant hitter with the Detroit Tigers in the 1930s. A Hall of Famer, the “Hebrew Hammer” still holds the record for most RBIs in a season with 183. He garnered national attention and scandal when he was one of the only active players to publicly support Jackie Robinson’s entrance into Major League Baseball.

Amar’e Stoudemire

The current New York Knicks forward has been a dominant force in the NBA since he was drafted straight out of high school in 2002. After winning the Rookie of the Year award that same season, Stoudemire has made six All-Star Games, including a first team All-NBA selection in 2007. He recently made a “heritage trip” to Israel in 2010 to reconnect with his Jewish roots.

Red Auerbach

The legendary head coach of the Boston Celtics won a whopping nine titles in 11 years from 1956–1967, including eight in a row. He coached the first ever all African-American starting five in NBA history in 1964, and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1969.