(New York Jewish Week) — Jewish outfielder Harrison Bader will make his season debut for the New York Yankees on Tuesday after missing the first month of the season due to an oblique muscle injury.
Bader, who prior to his injuries briefly committed to playing for Team Israel in this year’s World Baseball Classic, joined his hometown Yankees last year at the trade deadline. The Bronxville native made an immediate impact in pinstripes, crushing five home runs during the playoffs.
Bader’s father is Jewish and has said his son is considering formally converting to Judaism. (Bader would not be considered Jewish under matrilineal descent, which says only a child born to a Jewish mother or a person who formally converts to Judaism is Jewish.) Though Bader, 28, missed out on the WBC, he said he would “absolutely consider” playing for Israel in the future.
Last month, Bader starred in an episode of “Home Plate: New York,” a YES Network program hosted by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. The pair visited Liebman’s Deli in the Bronx, where they noshed on matzah ball soup, pastrami and other Jewish delicacies.
A graduate of the Bronx’s Horace Mann School, Bader played the first five and a half seasons of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he became known for his elite defense. Bader won a Gold Glove award for best defensive center fielder in 2021.
Bader is joining a last-place Yankees team in need of a momentum shift — superstar Aaron Judge was placed on the injured list on Monday. Jewish relief pitcher Scott Effross, whom the Yankees acquired one day before Bader, has made progress in his rehab from surgery but is not expected back until next season.
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