Kevin Youkilis of Boston Red Sox voted ‘Jewish Player of the Decade’
NEWTON, Massachusetts (Press Release)– Boston Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis has been voted the Jewish Player of the Decade in online balloting conducted by Jewish Major Leaguers, the organization which produces an annual set of trading cards to honor the Jewish contribution to America’s National Pastime. Youkilis received 54% of the nearly 350 votes cast, with Shawn Green finishing second at 20% and Ryan Braun third at 11%. Other candidates included Brad Ausmus, Jason Marquis, Scott Schoeneweis, John Grabow, Gabe Kapler, Scott Feldman, Ian Kinsler, Craig Breslow, Adam Stern and Mike Lieberthal.
Ausmus, Marquis and Schoeneweis played the full decade of the ‘00s, and Green enjoyed two monster seasons with the Dodgers at the start of the decade. “Clearly,” said Martin Abramowitz, who heads JML, “Youkilis made a more lasting impression because of his superb play in the second half of the decade, which included a .382 on-base percentage, tops among everyone in the group.”
Youkilis also had a consecutive errorless streak at first base which broke an 86-year old record, won a Gold Glove, and had two top-ten finishes in MVP voting. Several voters commented on his versatility and intensity, which has led the Red Sox to four post-season appearances in his 7-year career. He batted .500 in the 2007 American League Championship Series, with a .929 slugging percentage. The 2010 edition of Jewish Major Leaguer baseball cards will include a card recognizing Youkilis’s selection.
“One of the purposes of the balloting”, Abramowitz noted, ”was to highlight the fact that this has been an extraordinary decade for Jews in baseball, perhaps the greatest ever.” Jewish Major Leaguers, Inc., is a Boston-based not-for-profit organization “Documenting American Jews in America’s Game.” It has produced five highly regarded limited-edition sets of Jewish Major Leaguers baseball cards and two nationally-publicized events at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
The 2008 Hank Greenberg Edition and the 2009 “Record-Setters” edition are still available; the 2010 “Deck of the Decade” is planned for publication shortly after Opening Day of next season. Jewish Major Leaguers baseball cards are licensed by Major League Baseball, and the Major League Baseball Players Association. The 2010 edition will be produced in cooperation with The Topps Company, and is made possible in part by grants from Major League Baseball, the Chicago White Sox, the Florida Marlins, the New York Mets, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Washington Nationals. Youkilis’ 2010 card from the Jewish Major Leaguers forthcoming set, as well as the special Player of the Decade card, are attached. For further information, visit www.Jewishmajorleaguers.org.