“Our main goal is developing baseball in Israel by putting together a team that can compete,” Kurz said.
Israeli baseball officials are hoping the trio will help draw quality players to upcoming team tryouts, as well as donations for a $3 million baseball complex being built in Raanana, in central Israel, which will become the country’s central baseball hub.
According to the association, some 2,000 youths and adults play baseball in Israel and it says the sport has enjoyed growth in recent years since the experiment with the professional league. But adding the former major league standouts takes the sport to a whole new level in the Holy Land.
Green was perhaps the greatest Jewish baseball player since Sandy Koufax, hitting 328 homers in a 15-year career with the Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets and Arizona Diamondbacks. Ausmus played 18 years in the big leagues, including in the 1999 All-Star Game, and was a three-time Gold Glove winner at catcher for the Houston Astros. Kapler had a productive 13-year career and won a World Series title with the Boston Red Sox in 2004.
Kapler, known during his playing days as “The Hebrew Hammer,” is very open about his pride in being a Jewish role model. He has a Star of David tattoo on his left calf _ with the inscription “Strong Willed, Strong Minded” in Hebrew _ and the post-Holocaust motto “Never Again” with a flame and the dates of the Holocaust tattooed on his right calf.
He said he is eagerly anticipating his first visit to Israel.
“It is a great thing when you can introduce a new sport to a place that doesn’t have it in its blood yet,” he said.