By Jacob Gurvis
(JTA) — Ian Kinsler, the Jewish former MLB All-Star and Team Israel manager, wore a Team Israel jersey while throwing out the first pitch of the playoff game between the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.
As both a player and a manager, Ian Kinsler has worn the jersey many times and in several different stadiums. But the choice to wear it at the game, along with a Texas Rangers hat — he played the first eight years of his 14-year MLB career with the Rangers — appeared to be a stand of solidarity with Israel as it deals with the fallout of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks.
The clip of the first pitch was shared widely across social media, with fans and Team Israel players commending Kinsler for his show of support.
“Ian Kinsler, in his own quiet way, has given the supporters of Israel a reason to feel very proud and have great respect,” Team Israel general manager Peter Kurz, who had recruited Kinsler to join the team, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency via text message. “There is no bigger platform today in America than the baseball playoffs, and by taking advantage of that platform to so proudly wear his Team Israel jersey as he got the honor of throwing out the first pitch, Ian has said to the world: ‘Israel means a lot to me, Israel is fighting a bitter and barbarian enemy, and I support the people of Israel in this war!!’”
Kinsler played for Team Israel in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo — for which he obtained Israeli citizenship — and managed the club at the 2023 World Baseball Classic in Miami.
“It’s a tough time, and something that is hard to understand,” Kinsler said. “I stand in solidarity with the people of Israel, especially the IDF who are fighting to defend the country and its people. I know people who have been recalled to service and pray for their safety and their family’s peace of mind daily. Innocent lives are being lost on both sides and I pray for a quick resolution.”
Kinsler’s display of support in the playoffs follows similar acts by Astros star Alex Bregman, who drew a Star of David on his hat during the previous series, and Kremer, who wore a Star of David necklace as he became the first Israeli-American to pitch in the postseason. Last week, the Philadelphia Phillies held a moment of silence for Israel prior to their playoff game against the Atlanta Braves.