The 12 greatest Jewish feats in baseball playoff history

Dan Epstein, Forward

This article originally appeared at Forward. Reposted with permission.

Ah, October — when Jewish holidays, fall colors, Halloween and the baseball postseason combine to make for a particularly festive time of the year.

Of course, when we think of Jewish baseball heroics in October, we immediately (and understandably) think of Sandy Koufax. But while the “Left Arm of God” certainly ranks high on any list of incredible World Series performances, Koufax is hardly the only member of the tribe to make a memorable mark in the postseason. Here then, more or less in ascending order of greatness, are a dozen enduring October performances by Jewish MLB players.

12. Erskine Mayer (1915)

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Here’s a great trivia question: Who was the first Jewish pitcher to appear in a World Series? The answer is Philadelphia Phillies hurler Mayer, who also made history in 1914 by winning 21 games, thereby becoming the first Jewish pitcher to hit the 20-victory mark. In 1915, he repeated that feat and achieved further immortality by starting Game 2 of that year’s World Series. Mayer pitched a tense complete game duel against Boston Red Sox starter Rube Foster, striking out seven and giving up his only earned run in the top of the 9th. when Foster singled in a run to break the 1-1 deadlock. Though he went home with the “L,” Mayer’s impressive performance on the game’s biggest stage was a source of pride for Jewish baseball fans everywhere.

11. Brad Ausmus (2005)

Known more at the time for his glove (and hunky good looks) than his bat, Houston Astros catcher Brad Ausmus hit the biggest homer of his career in Game 4 of the 2005 National League Division Series. With two outs in the bottom of the 9th, and the Astros trailing the Atlanta Braves 6-5, Ausmus lined a 2-0 pitch from Kyle Farnsworth just over the yellow “home run” line on the left-center wall of Minute Maid Park. The blow not only tied the game, but it set the stage for the Astros’ series-clinching 18-inning 7-6 victory, which put the franchise on the path to its first-ever World Series appearance.

10. Craig Breslow (2013)