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Cleveland Just Missed Its Chance to Own 3 Major League Jews


Kevin Youkilis at bat against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, April 28th, 2006.

Kevin Youkilis at bat against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, April 28th, 2006.
Photo Credit: Googie Man

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The Cleveland Jewish News Les Levine is bemoaning the fact that Jewish history was not made this week, because had the (Jewish) heavens gone a little bit differently, Cleveland could become the first American city with three Jewish major leaguers playing at the same time.

All season the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox have been on a seesaw in the race for the American League Central Division title, with the Detroit Tigers not too far behind, Levine writes. Then the White Sox acquired Kevin Youkilis from the Boston Red Sox.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Kevin Edmund Youkilis was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2001, after playing college baseball at the University of Cincinnati. Known for his ability to get on base, Youkilis has earned the nickname “Euclis: The Greek God of Walks.”

He is also a three-time MLB All-Star, two-time World Series Champion, and winner of the 2008 Hank Aaron Award.

Youkilis is the son of a Rumanian Jewish jewelry wholesaler, described by his son a “well-known third baseman in the Jewish Community Center fast-pitch softball league.”

By not acquiring Youkilis, Levine points out, the Cleveland teams missed out on a local “Jewish trifecta that may not have ever taken place in any city with three pro franchises. The Cavs have Omri Casspi, the Browns have second-round pick Mitchell Schwartz, but the Indians came up short in their quest for Youkilis.”

Just one thing I must point out: Over here in Netanya, where I live, our local major league soccer team Maccabi Netanya is comprised almost entirely of Jews. In fact, it’s when the team acquires a non-Jew that it makes headlines. Like Muhammad Kalibat, who scored 5 goals last season. I hope they keep him — he was on loan from Maccabi Haifa. It’s kinda’ fun.

We finished in 4th place last season. Not too shabby.

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About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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4 Responses to “Cleveland Just Missed Its Chance to Own 3 Major League Jews”

  1. If they were short and cuddly, I would have moved to Cleveland. LOL

  2. Youkilis is only Jewish if one accepts patrilineal descent. But he's still a great ballplayer with Jewish blood.

  3. Ari Shvat says:

    The last paragraph is classic!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Who are the other two in Cleveland? Kipnis? Kipnis is a Jewish name, his father is Jewish, his mother is not.It seems to me that every time I saw him come to bat (online here in Israel) he has this VERY large croxx swinging around his kneck.Lord knows how it doesn't distract him, its huge.

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