If you were a Bar Mitzvah boy in the postwar years, you probably received a gift called Great Jews in Sports. Your goy friends enjoyed a good snicker when they saw it on the shelf above your desk, but you coveted the volume. It not only supplied a pantheon for you to worship; it served as a refutation of all those cheap stereotypes about effeminate, bookish Jews that followed you to Pop Warner try-outs, and that you were convinced resulted in a condescending ten-steps-forward outfield shift during your turn at-bat. So it is with a humble spirit of deference that editors Franklin Foer and Marc Tracy propose its successor: Jewish Jocks: An Unothodox Hall of Fame, a collection of biographical musings on the most influential Jews in sports.
The sports figures profiled in Jewish Jocks go beyond athletes to include coaches, broadcasters, owners, trainers and even statisticians (in the finite universe of Jewish Jocks, they count!) Contributors include some of today's most celebrated writers, such as New Yorker editor David Remnick; novelists Jonathan Safran Foer and Booker-prize winner Howard Jacobson; sports writer Buzz Bissinger; economist Larry Summers; columnist David Brooks; journalists Jane Leavy, Steven Pinker and Dahlia Lithwick writing on figures such as Howad Cosell, Art Shamsky, Kerri Strug, Harold Solomon, Sandy Koufax, Shirley Povitch, and many, many more.
Franklin Foer is The New Republic's Editor At Large and a Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation. He is the author of the international bestseller How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization. Marc Tracy is a staff writer at Tablet Magazine. The blog he edits there, The Scroll, won the 2011 National Magazine Award.