NEW YORK (JTA) -- Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun won his appeal of his earlier positive test for performance-enhancing drugs.
The decision, announced on Thursday, means that Braun -- the reigning National League most valuable player and the first Jew to earn that distinction in nearly five decades -- will avoid a 50-game suspension.
Braun's suspension was overturned by an an arbitrator in what is believed to be the first time a baseball player has successfully challenged a drug-related grievance. No reasoning for the ruling was given.
Ryan Braun, the slugging outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers, became the first Jewish Most Valuable Player in nearly five decades.
Braun, the son of an Israeli-born Jewish father and a Catholic mother, was named the National League MVP on Tuesday. He received 20 of 32 first-place votes and 388 points in voting announced by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Los Angeles center fielder Matt Kemp was second with 10 first-place votes and 332 points.
It is a little surprising to look back on Shawn Green’s career in major-league baseball and realize that he played in all or parts of 15 seasons. It is almost as surprising to realize that he retired from the game at 34, only four home runs from surpassing Hank Greenberg as the most prolific Jewish slugger in baseball history. His lifetime batting average of .283 and 1,070 RBIs are also impressive achievements.
John Thorn had a busy month in March. His latest book, “Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game” (Simon and Schuster) was published, and he was named official historian of Major League Baseball. Which is not bad for a nice Jewish boy who was born in a displaced persons camp in Stuttgart, Germany. Thorn, who will turn 64 shortly after this week’s Opening Day, offered some insights into baseball and the Jewish-American experience in a telephone interview last week.
Q - With baseball’s spring training underway, I’m reminded of an incident from last season. Derek Jeter, one of the few superstars from the past decade not implicated in baseball’s steroid sample, was caught on videopretending to be hit by a pitch.
My one personal encounter with George Steinbrenner was brief but memorable. It took place at a Yankees-Orioles playoff game in October 1996, and came about thanks to an introduction extended to me by my younger son, Dov, who was 15 at the time.
It was an afternoon game at Yankee Stadium, the day after my beloved Orioles had been robbed of victory by Jeffrey Maier, the 12-year-old who reached out from the bleachers to turn a sure out into a home run for Derek Jeter.
(I try not to hold grudges but that kid should have been carted off to jail for thievery…)
Baseball celebrated itself again this week with the All-Star Game, played in Anaheim, and Jewish fans had reason to celebrate. Milwaukee Brewers’ outfielder Ryan Braun, whose father is Israeli, started for the National League. Texas Rangers’ second baseman Ian Kinsler was an American League reserve. First baseman Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox narrowly missed making the American League roster.
As spring training moves toward Opening Day, rekindling in baseball fans everywhere the flickering and foolish hope that this could be the year for their team, I share with you my own story of child-like dreams rubbing up against reality. It’s a saga I like to think of as My (Almost) Magical Inning.
For it was 25 years ago this week that I had an opportunity to live out one of the great fantasies a baseball fan could have: to play in a game with one’s favorite big-league team.