Another one bites the dust
(Statistics through May 8)
Rewriting the books: Despite reports to the contrary, Washington Capitals left-wing Andre Burakovsky has emphatically declared that he should not be listed on the rolls of Jewish athletes. In response to a 2015 query from a blogger who writes about the NHL team, Burakovsky tweeted “no one of nu parents are jewish, so It’s not true!” Yet those who keep track of who’s a Jew in sports have generally ignored Burakovsky’s denial and continued to include him as “one of our own.”
He joins Buddy Myer, a second baseman for the Washington Senators from the late 1920s to early 40s long considered to be Jewish, as prominent athletes removed from the lists in light of additional investigation: Myer’s family did have Jewish ancestry but his parents converted out of the faith when he was a young boy.
Power surge: Jewish Major Leaguers put on their best Samson impersonations over the last week, averaging more than a homer a day. Joc Pederson, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ sophomore slugger, led the way with three round-trippers. Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers) and Ian Kinsler (Detroit Tigers) followed with two apiece. Kevin Pillar had just one long blast for the Toronto Blue Jays, but it turned out to be the game-winner over the visiting Dodgers on May 6.
Stick around this time: The Boston Red Sox have signed Wellesley graduate Nate Freiman to a minor league contract. The six-foot, seven-inch first baseman began the year with the Atlanta Braves; was traded to the Washington Nationals during spring training; was released by said Nationals; and signed a deal with the independent league Long Island Ducks, where he hit two home runs on Saturday. He begins his Bosox connection as a member of the AA Portland Sea Dogs.
This week in Jewish sports history: Gerda Gottlieb of Austria sets a women’s world record for four feet, four inches in the standing high jump (May 12, 1934). Shawn Green hits the first of his 328 Major League home runs for the Toronto Blue Jays in an 8-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers (May 14, 1995). Kevin Youkilis hits a homer in his first big league game for the Boston Red Sox in a 4-0 win over the Blue Jays (May 15, 2004).
Birthday greetings: Dolph Schayes, NBA Hall of Famer (May 19, 1928).
Sources: ESPN.com, Day by Day in Jewish Sports History