A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

What: Jewish Sports Review, $36 a year, call (800) 510-9003

Al Levine and Tony Fossas, teammates last season with the Texas Rangers, shared a cab to Yankee Stadium one day. To pass the time, they discussed how many of their fellow major league players might be Jewish.

"I never would have guessed 11," Levine said.

Who knew? The Jewish Sports Review did.

The Review chronicles the achievements of Jewish athletes everywhere, from preps to pros. More important, perhaps, the Review identifies Jewish athletes in a culture that has not traditionally encouraged its children to pursue sporting glory.

Or haven't you heard the old joke about two Jewish women running into each other at the market?

"So," one woman asks, "how old are your kids these days?"

"The doctor is 5 and the lawyer is 3," the other answers.

There is certainly no shame in a sports career these days, not with potential riches that dwarf those of doctors and lawyers. Nonetheless, the Review editorializes, "Our hope is to inspire Jewish youth to reach their highest level of athletic potential, not at the expense of grades or their future careers but so that they can fuse their intellectual and physical growth."

Ephraim Moxson, one of the Review's two publishers, lives in Los Angeles and administers a mental-health clinic for the California Department of Corrections. Shel Wallman lives in New York and teaches social studies in middle school. They spend countless evening and weekend hours on phone calls, newspapers and Internet sites that might allow them to turn up Jewish athletes and follow their progress.

"It's a labor of love," Moxson said. "It's genuinely fun."

Citations in the latest issue range from Dodger Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax and University of California basketball Coach Ben Braun to soccer star Sara Leibowitz of Chaminade High in West Hills and, with a wink, the fictional boxer Robert Cohn in Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises." And, yes, the Review did identify 11 Jewish players who appeared in the majors last season, among them Levine, now with the Angels, and outfielder Shawn Green of the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays will tell you that Green was the first player in franchise history to hit 35 home runs and steal 35 bases in the same season. The Jewish Sports Review will tell you that Green's 35 home runs have been topped by only two Jewish sluggers, third baseman Al Rosen and Hall of Fame first baseman Hank Greenberg.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World