Tuesday, October 18, 2005

David Eckstein is NOT Jewish

I'm only posting this because I've seen several hits come this way people, probably fellow St. Louis Cardinal fans, wondering as to whether short stop David Eckstein is Jewish or not. The simple answer you are looking for is no.

Gordon Edes wrote in the Boston Globe on December 10, 2002, about the former Red Sox draftee who was claimed by the Angels on August 16, 2000.
"I thought maybe he had come down for breakfast, but he told me he was looking for a church," Berardino said. "I thought he was Jewish. I said, 'Are you Catholic?' He said, 'Yeah.' We went to Mass together that morning, and we did every Sunday.

"That continued over the years, when I was a roving instructor and came to where David was playing. Sometimes, he'd come with my wife, Kathleen, and me. He is still my wife's favorite player."

Eckstein hit over .300 everywhere he played in the Sox organization - Lowell, Sarasota, Trenton - until he got to Pawtucket.

"Greg Biagini was our hitting coach there, and he changed his hands," Berardino said. "David being David, he didn't fight it, but he didn't want to do it."

Eckstein had his champions in the Sox organization, including Berardino, Luke Wrenn, the scout who signed him, and former infield instructor Mike Gallego, another little guy who played on championship teams in Oakland. But some of Dan Duquette's top advisers were less enamored, and when a roster spot had to be created for Lou Merloni's return from Japan, Eckstein was placed on waivers while guys like Izzy Alcantara and Ed Sprague were protected.

The Angels quickly claimed him, and when he reported to Triple A Edmonton, they told him to go back to the way he used to hit. Soon, Eckstein was back to hitting .300 again, and startled the Angels by hitting four home runs in his first three weeks there.

The rest of the story, which ended with Eckstein in the middle of a pile of celebrating Angels after beating the Giants in Game 7 of the Series, Sox fans know only too well. An injury to regular shortstop Gary DiSarcina created an opportunity for Eckstein to win a job on the big-league club in 2001 and he responded by being named the Angels' outstanding player in spring training. Berardino, who had Eckstein when his arm was barely adequate to play second, marveled at Eckstein's ability to make the switch to short.
Of course, Eckstein signed with St. Louis on December 23, 2004 after becoming a free agent just two days before.

Steve Wulf of ESPN Magazine has even stated he had his facts wrong and that Eckstein is indeed Catholic.

Here's another article from ESPN's own Dan Patrick.

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