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Gabe Kapler

(1975 - )

Gabriel "Gabe" Kapler is a Jewish American athlete and former professional baseball player.

Kapler (born August 31, 1975) was born in Hollywood, California and attended Cal State-Fullerton on a scholarship before trasferring to Moorpack Colege in 1995. Kapler has a Star of David tattooed on one leg and the motto “Never Again” on the other.

In 1995, Kapler was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 57th round of the baseball draft and he spent the next three seasons playing in their minor league system. In 1998, he made his major league debut at the age of 22 and became the first Tiger to be selected so late in the draft to reach the majors. On April 30, 1999, he hit his first big league home run.

Playing for the Rangers in 2000, Gabe had a 28-game hitting streak, a team record and the longest in the majors that season.

In September 2001, after Dodgers star and fellow Jewish player Shawn Green sat out of a game on Yom Kippur, Kapler said, "What Shawn is doing is commendable ... Nobody is more proud of their heritage than I am and nobody is more proud of being Jewish than I am. It's something I have to mull over ... I don't know what I would be doing if I wasn't playing baseball that day. It might not be going to the synagogue."

During the 2002 season, the Rangers traded Kapler to the Colorado Rockies and in 2003 he was aquired by the Boston Red Sox, where he played until 2006 with one brief respite in Japan.

In 2004, Green again sat on on the holiday while Kapler played. Kapler has called himself a role model for young Jewish fans, but said of his decision, “I am not really a practicing Jew. It would be selfish to be a practicing Jew on only one day.”

In 2008, after spending one season managing in the Red Sox minor league system, Kapler returned to the major leagues for the Milwaukee Brewers. From 2009 to 2010, he played for the Tamp Bay Rays and in 2011 he signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers but was released before the start of the season.

During the 2013 World Baseball Classic, Kapler served as a coach for Team Israel in the qualifying round, though the team eventually lost in te qualifying final and did not make the Classic. Since then, Kapler has worked as an analyst for Fox Sports 1.

Kapler is divorced from his wife, Lisa, and has two sons.

Sources: Jews in Sports; Wikipedia; Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated