Grandson of Holocaust Survivors Becomes Latest Jewish Pitcher to Appear in World Series
Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Ryan Sherriff on Friday night became the latest Jewish pitcher to be appear in a World Series game — a group that most famously includes Sandy Koufax.
The California native — whose maternal grandparents, Helen and Seymour Wildfeuer, were Holocaust survivors from Poland –pitched a scoreless seventh inning in Game 3 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. On Sunday night, he pitched in the top of the eighth inning of Game 5. The 30-year-old left-handed hurler pitched against Max Muncy, Will Smith and Cody Bellinger, and completed a 3-up-and-3-down inning.
The Rays lost the game 4-2, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 series lead.
The 1915 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies was the first to feature a Jewish pitcher, Erskine Mayer, according to Jewish baseball historian and author Robert Wechsler, as reported by Tablet.
Other Jewish pitchers who appeared in the World Series included Ken Holtzman for the Oakland Athletics, Larry Sherry for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Koufax, also for the Dodgers.
A Jewish batter has yet to face a Jewish pitcher in the World Series.
Sheriff made his MLB debut in August 2017 with the St. Louis Cardinals. He previously said he knew his late grandparents would be proud that he played for Israel’s national team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifiers.
“Being able to pitch for Team Israel made me feel very appreciative for everything that they had gone through,” Sherriff told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Just to represent the Jewish heritage for them was just a great honor for me. She [Helen] would have been stoked. She would have been really happy if she was still alive today.”