Professor Says Dodgers Power-Hitter Could Break Stereotype of Jews in Sports
Rookie player for the Dodgers Joc Pederson may boost the image of Jewish athletes if he can prove he has both brains and brawn, according to a professor writing for the Daily Beast on Sunday.
David Fontana, Associate Professor of Law at George Washington University School of Law, pointed out the longstanding stereotype of Jews as more brainy than brawny, and asserted that Pederson could break the stereotype.
Indeed, the 23-year-old’s “power-hitting” performance thus far is rare among Jewish athletes.
“If Pederson sustains his performance for any length of time, he could be the first respected, mainstream Jewish athlete in some time to be publicly recognized for his powerful athletic performance,” the Daily Beast said. “This could change the image of Jews in sports, and perhaps even more broadly…he could change how Jews are viewed on and off the field for some time to come.”
The Jewish centerfielder was selected to play in the MLB All-Star game over the summer and hit some of the longest home runs of the early season, according to the Daily Beast. In June, he even hit more home runs of at least 450 feet than any other team in all of major league baseball. His fly balls are also some of the longest in the history of the sport.
Only a few Jewish baseball players in the past have been able to prove they have both smarts and strength, including Detroit Tigers hitter Hank Greenberg in the ’30s and ’40s, and Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax in the ’50s and ’60s.
The Daily Beast noted that since then, “Other Jewish athletes have come somewhat close to doing what Pederson could do, but never quite broke through as Pederson might.”