Happy Hanukkah, Danny Valencia

Happy Hanukkah, Danny Valencia
December 14, 2012, 12:00 am
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For those Orioles fans who celebrate Hanukkah, here’s a little present for you: One of the Orioles’ new acquisitions is Jewish.

Infielder Danny Valencia, picked up from the Red Sox for cash, would become the first Jewish player on the Orioles in six years, since the entirely forgettable Adam Stern. (We’re counting on the Baltimore Jewish Times on this one.)

Valencia, whose mother is Jewish and father is Cuban, told Moment magazine in a 2011 article: “People are shocked at first that I’m Jewish. I get teased in the clubhouse about being Jewish, but we all get teased about something. Going to Hebrew school and being a bar mitzvah … made my mom really happy. I wished I had been out playing baseball, but looking back at it now, I’m happy I did it.”

Now, Valencia won’t have the impact on the Orioles of a Steve Stone, but he is a lifetime .316 hitter against left-handed pitching, so he could be a handy bat on the bench and sometime designated hitter.

Of course, any discussion of Jewish Orioles must mention John Lowenstein. The outfielder wasn’t Jewish, but he pranked the Jewish Times into writing a feature about him before revealing the truth.