JTA — Craig Breslow of the Boston Red Sox is having a rough World Series. His critical throwing error in Boston’s Game 2 loss is already being compared to Bill Buckner’s infamous 1986 World Series goof that cost the Red Sox dearly.
And alas, Breslow didn’t manage to redeem himself in Game 3. He pitched to two batters in the 7th inning, putting both of them on base (one singled, and one was hit by a pitch), before being yanked. Both runners ended up scoring. The St. Louis Cardinals beat Boston 5 to 4 to take the lead in the series.
It’s a sad turn of events for the Jewish reliever, who had pitched eight scoreless innings for Boston in the playoffs.
While creating the impressive postseason resume, Breslow also has solidified Boston’s reputation as a hub for Jewish players. Back in 2006, in fact, Breslow was one of four Jewish players to play for the Red Sox, including Kevin Youkilis and Gabe Kapler.
This season, he’s not the only Jewish player and Yale alumnus on the team — there’s also catcher Ryan Lavarnway (now on the disabled list). Another Jewish player, outfielder Ryan Kalish, has been out all year with an injury.
Breslow, 33, has expressed his Jewish pride throughout his career, saying he has fasted on Yom Kippur even while playing.
He also has performed tikkun olam, the Hebrew term for “repair of the world,” with his charity efforts that include the Strike 3 Foundation he established in 2008 in the battle against cancer afflicting children (his younger sister is a survivor of thyroid cancer). For his charitable works, Breslow is this year’s Red Sox nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award handed out by Major League Baseball.
From 2007 to 2012, Breslow pitched for several teams before being traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Red Sox in the middle of last season. Along the way he often drew more attention for his intellectual prowess than his mound exploits.
Fans of Jewish pitchers can perhaps take some solace in a happy anniversary: Fifty years ago, in the 1963 World Series, Dodgers’ ace Sandy Koufax won the first and last games to help his team sweep the New York Yankees. Koufax was named the series MVP.