A couple of years ago I got back into collecting baseball cards. I sold almost all of my classic cards and began a Jewish baseball card collection; specifically rookie cards. I have almost every Jewish rookie baseball card and it has expanded to include all sports and a few non-rookies as well. The list below includes only rookie cards and not variants, error cards, jerseys, etc.
Honorable Mention: Al Schacht (Play Ball 1939), Al “Flip” Rosen (Bowman 1950), Alex Bregman (Topps 2017), and Cody Decker (Topps Heritage 2016).
10. Ryan Sadowski – Topps Heritage 2009 – While this card might seem bizarre to have landed on the list, Sadowski is the most random of a Jewish class of players who came to the Bigs in 2009. Eventually, he went on to have a solid career in Japan. (Also I wanted to include one card from after 1960).
9. Norm & Larry Sherry – 1960 Topps – The brothers both had their first cards in the same year. Its cool to see them side by side, Norm obviously having a greater impact on the game as Sandy Koufax’s catcher.
8. Jake Pitler – 1952 Topps – Pitler’s card comes when he was coaching. His playing days spanned 1913-1933 but never yielded a card. Its rarity lends itself to being found already graded.
7. Duke Markell – 1952 Parkhurst – Some might tell you Markell never had a rookie card. There is some truth to that. But in 1952 there is a very rare Markell card. It looks as if it accompanied a toy. Good luck getting your hands on one. I waited for it to appear on ebay for 3 years!
6. Barney Pelty – 1909-1911 Piedmont – There are two different cards labeled as Pelty rookies (very rare for its time). One shows Pelty throwing and the other with his arm in the arm. Either is great for your collection.
5. Moe Berg – 1933 Goudey – The early 30s hold three of the top four cards on the list starting with a Moe Berg rookie. Berg’s popularity in pop culture adds to the lure of this gem. Behind our #3 and #2 picks this might be the most essential card to the list because its easier to find than some of the others.
4. Sammy Bohne – 1922 American Caramel – One of the oldest Jewish cards, beware of reprints. Finding an original with good coloring is also tough. Regardless it is a great card to any collection.
3. Sandy Koufax – 1955 Topps – In some ways this is #1 because Koufax was the greatest. But its far more common than #2 and #1. To own it is to own a piece of Jewish history.
2. Hank Greenberg – 1934 Goudey – When it comes to the greatest Jewish player of all-time the nod goes to Koufax. When it comes to better rookie card the nod goes the Greenberg. Simply put the card is older, worth more and harder to find in good condition.
1.James Levey – 1933 Tattoo Orbit Gum – This card is the mecca of Jewish baseball cards. Why? Well its very rare. There are only a handful on ebay. Levey had a very short career which also elevates the rarity of this card as well.