We’ve had a lot of renowned Jewish athletes from a variety of sports including football, swimming, basketball, wrestling, baseball and boxing . Some of the most famous are:
William “Bill” Goldberg
Born on the 27th of December, 1966, William Scott Goldberg is an American actor, professional wrestler, former professional football player and mixed martial arts color commentator. He is most popular for the time he spent in the WWE and World Championship Wrestling, where he performed under the ring name Goldberg.
Goldberg is regarded as one of the most popular professional wrestlers of the late 90s, and he was the top wrestler and ace of the World Championship Wresting when the Monday Night Wars were at their peak. He especially rose to fame in WCW with a lengthy winning streak in singles competition from 1997 to 1998, and his streak was considered the longest undefeated streak in professional wrestling, up until 2017 when he was surpassed by Asuka. During his professional wrestling career, he was a two-time United States Heavyweight Champion and a one-time World Heavyweight Champion. He was also a World Tag team Champion with Bret Hart, making him the fifth WCW Triple Crown winner with Bret Hart.
Following the closure of WCW in 2001, Goldberg went on to wrestle for All Japan Pro Wrestling from 2002 to 2003, then he went back to WWE from 2003 to 2004. There, he became a one-time World Heavyweight Champion. After he had spent 12 years away from the company, he returned to the WWE to headline Fastlane against Kevin Owens (where he won the Universal Championship, his third title)and Survivor Series against Brock Lesnar. Goldberg was the headliner of various pay-per-view events for WWE and WCW, including closing Starcade, WCW’s premier annual event. He remains the only man to have ever won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, WWE’s World Heavyweight Championship, and the WWE Universal Championship, and he was officially inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2018
Before Goldberg started as a professional wrestler, he was a football player. After he first retired from professional wrestling, he started to work as a commentator for the mixed martial arts promotion EliteXC, up until it closed. He also hosted 26 episodes of Garage Mahal on the DIY Network from 2009 till 2011.
Dov-BerRosofsky (known professionally as Barney Ross) was born in New York City on the 23rd of December, 1909, his family moved to Chicago when he was at an early age, where his father started to work as a rabbi and an owner of a vegetable shop. During this time, Dov-Ber was being raise to follow the footsteps of his father.
Dov-Ber was raised on the mean streets of Chicago, ultimately ignoring the desire of his father for him to become a rabbi. He wanted to become a Jewish teacher and a Talmudic scholar, but things took a rather tragic turn after his father was shot dead while resisting a robbery at his
grocery store. Various events unfolded, and Dov-Ber was eventually left to his own luck at the age of 14.
Due to the tragedy that struck, Dov-Ber started to roll with street thugs, developing into a money runner, a thief and a street brawler. He wanted to make enough cash to buy a house and reunite his family, and he saw boxing as his means to do that. So, he began to train for it.
Dov-Ber began with amateur fights, and he decided to take the name “Barney Ross” as a means of honoring his father’s name and not sully it. Strong, fast and strong-willed, he soon became an Intercity Golden Gloves and Chicago Golden Gloves champion at the age of 19. He then went on to dominate the lighter versions as a professional.
Ross is a unique boxer, and is one of the few triple division champions. He was never knocked out in 81 fights, and over the course of his career, he held his title against some stern competition as well. He defeated Hall-of-Fame champions like Tony Canzoneri and Jimmy McLarnin in fights that drew crowds north of 50,000.
He eventually retired with a record of 72 wins, 4 losses, 3 draws and 2 no decisions, with 22 of those wins coming by KO.
He spent his final days using his celebrity status to do promotional work for businesses and casinos. He eventually died of throat cancer in Chicago on the 17th of January 1967.
Born Sanford Braun, Sandy was born on the 30th of December, 1935, and he is a former American Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher. He played 12 seasons for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1955 to 1966, and he became the youngest player to ever be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Sandy’s career peaked with an amazing run of six years from 1961 to 1966, before his career was prematurely ended due to arthritis in his left elbow. He was an All-Star for 6 seasons, and he was the Most Valuable Player of the MLB in 1963. He won the Cy Young Award in 1963, 65 and 66 with unanimous votes, making him the first three-time Cy Young Award winner in the history of baseball. Koufax was also the winner of the NL Triple Crown for pitchers in those same years, as he led the NL in strikeouts, wins and earned run average.
Koufax was the first pitcher in the major league to pitch four no-hitters, and he was the eighth pitcher to pitch a perfect game in the history of baseball. Even though his career was comparatively short, Koufax had the 7th most strikeouts with 2,936 at the point of his retirement. With that, the only left-handed pitchers who had more career strikeouts than him were Warren Sahn and Randy Johnson.
Koufax is also widely remembered as one of the outstanding Jewish athletes in the history of American sports.