Jewish pitcher smashes a grand slam

Jason Marquis became the first Jewish pitcher to hit a grand slam since 1950.

Marquis, a Chicago Cubs’ right-hander, connected to right field off Mets’ rookie lefty Jonathan Niese Sept. 23 at Shea Stadium in New York.

The homer, part of a six-run fourth inning, propelled the Cubs to a 9-5 victory. Marquis also picked up the mound win to raise his record to 11-9.

The last Jewish pitcher to hit a grand slam was Saul Rogovin of the Detroit Tigers in 1950. Rogovin smashed his homer off Eddie Lopat of the New York Yankees.

Jason Marquis

Saul Rogovin

Koufax Benches Dodgers

Jewish pride across the baseball world swelled back in 1965,when the legendary Sandy Koufax decided to observe Yom Kippur rather than pitchfor the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the World Series against the MinnesotaTwins.

But the Hall of Fame pitcher proved unforgiving recently,when a gossip item in the New York Post intimated that he was gay. The Post isowned by the News Corp., controlled by multimedia magnate Rupert Murdoch, whoalso happens to own the Dodgers.

Through a friend, the always very private Koufax, now 67,declared that he would no longer assist any Murdoch-owned enterprise and wastherefore severing his 48-year-long relationship with the Dodgers.

After 12 seasons with the Dodgers, in New York and Los Angeles, from 1955-1966, Koufax has held a variety of minor league pitchingpositions with the club. He also announced that he would no longer attend theDodgers spring training camp in Vero Beach, Fla., where he has been a regularfor decades.

Among the many friends and admirers expressing their sorrowat the break was the Dodgers All-Star right fielder Shawn Green, who emulated Koufaxin 2001, when he skipped the last game of a series against the San FranciscoGiants to spend the holiest day of the year in a local shul.

“This is really a shame,” Green told the Los Angeles Times.”Sandy is a great man, and he did so much for the organization, but he meantmuch more than just wearing the uniform.

“I’ve always paid close attention to [Koufax] because he’s aman of principle and he’s lived his life the right way,” Green added. “He feelsvery strongly about his beliefs, which is only one of the many reasons I admirehim.”

In a rare victory for the good guys in a publicity-obsessedworld, the Post has retracted the story and apologized for “getting it wrong.”