How Jewish Kevin Youkilis got a Greek last name

Kevin Youkilis has agreed to sign with the Yankees, which predictably has New York’s large Jewish population pretty excited.

Youk, who spent his entire career with the Boston Red Sox until being traded to the Chicago White Sox last season, grew up in Cincinnati and is from a Jewish family. He had a Bar Mitzvah, and his father says the ballplayer can even read Hebrew.

So how did his family end up with a Greek last name? Youkilis’ father, Mike, shared the story with The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir.

“There are so many stories in the family,” Mike Youkilis, Kevin’s father, said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “But we’ve agreed on one.”

In that story, there was, sometime in the 1800s, a teenager with the last name Weiner, who is believed to have been Kevin Youkilis’s great-great-great-great-grandfather — give or take a great — and who lived in what is now Romania. Fearing the Cossacks, who were no friends of the Jews, and of being drafted at age 16 into the army, he fled to Greece.

“Apparently, there was a family friend there with a name like Youkilis,” Mike Youkilis said. “A couple of years later, he got homesick, and when he decided to go home, he couldn’t come back with the name Weiner or he’d be thrown in jail. So he took the Greek name. He met a lady and they married in Romania and started to have kids. And we kept the name.”

Even though confusion ensued because many people thought they were Greek, nobody in the Youkilis family considered changing the name back to Weiner (can you imagine the torment growing up with that last name?). Cool story, right? I’m sure many families, including mine, can relate.

My father’s family came from Germany, and they had a much longer, German-sounding last name. When they arrived in New York, the name was simplified and Anglicized to Brown.

But make no mistake about it: Even though Youkilis has a Greek last name, he is proud of his Jewish heritage.

Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Kevin Youkilis is headed to the dark side

After spending his entire career with the Boston Red Sox, it looks like Kevin Youkilis is going to the dark side.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says Youkilis and the New York Yankees have agreed on a one-year, $12 million deal, which is pending a physical. Youkilis is expected to replace third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who had hip surgery and is expected to miss the first few months of the season.

Youkilis was drafted by the Red Sox in 2001 and he developed into a star with Boston. He was a three-time All-Star, won two World Series with the team, and he peaked in 2008 and 2009 when finished in the top six in AL MVP voting both years. And now he’s going to the Yankees.

The move is not as painful for Red Sox fans as it would have been had Youkilis played the entire 2012 season in Boston.

Youk was criticized by manager Bobby Valentine amid a horrible start to the season. After he returned from the disabled list, the Red Sox decided to trade him to the Chicago White Sox. He played half the season in Chicago and already had his “welcome back” game at Fenway Park.

What makes this different from a situation like Johnny Damon is that Youkilis was run out of town by Boston, whereas a player like Damon chose the Yankees over the Red Sox for more money.

Though Youkilis’ bat has been declining the past two seasons, he should be able to adequately fill a need for the Yankees. I think it’s a pretty good signing.

Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Bobby Valentine: Kevin Youkilis never got over my criticism

Kevin Youkilis is returning to Fenway Park on Monday for the first time since being traded from the Red Sox to the White Sox three weeks ago. In anticipation of Youkilis’ return, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was asked on Sunday if there was friction between the two. Based on his reaction, it’s safe to say Valentine still has friction with Youk.

“I think that’s a joke,” Valentine told the media, per the Boston Globe. “I wasn’t here last year. There was no friction in spring training. So I think that’s a joke. But I’ll take all that. I think the comment that I made early, he made a big issue out of and I don’t think he ever wanted to get over it.”

Valentine questioned Youkilis’ commitment early in the season, setting the stage for Youkilis being traded months later.

Valentine was asked how his relationship was with Youkilis after the making those comments.

[Read more...]

White Sox misspell Kevin Youkilis’ name on lineup card (Picture)

Kevin Youkilis made his White Sox debut on Monday after being traded to Chicago by the Red Sox on Sunday. Not everything went smoothly in his first game with the South Siders.

As you can see in the photo above (shared by the White Sox on Twitter), whoever posted the lineup for the White Sox misspelled Youkilis’ last name. The person spelled Youkilis’ last name phonetically and left out the first “I.”

Youk went 1-for-4 in his Chicago debut and had one of his team’s five hits in a 4-1 loss to the Twins. It wasn’t a strong debut, but given that Adam Dunn took a golden sombrero, it was certainly respectable.

via MLB Cut4

Red Sox already promoting the return of Kevin Youkilis to sell tickets

Since John Henry and company took over on Yawkey Way, the Red Sox have always been searching for every possible way to make a buck no matter how dumb it makes them look. On Sunday afternoon, Boston traded Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox. By Monday morning, they were already coming up with ways to make money off of the situation. The following is a screenshot of an email that was sent out by the Red Sox ticket office on Monday with a subject line that read “Welcome Youkilis back for the first time as a member of the Chicago White Sox on July 16-19.”

Notice the blurb in the bottom righthand corner. Sad? Yes. Surprising? Not even a little bit.

H/T Barstool Sports

Kevin Youkilis’ brother Scott trashed Boston, Bobby Valentine amid trade rumors

You know who must be over the moon about Kevin Youkilis reportedly being traded to the White Sox? His own brother.

Scott Youkilis has been pretty busy on Twitter over the last 24 hours, bashing Boston and Bobby Valentine and also listing reasons why Chicago is a better city, as rumors about his brother being traded to the South Side intensified into reality. It probably didn’t help that the guy who made Youkilis expendable, Will Middlebrooks, had another big game Saturday night.

Here’s some of the Twitter tantrum Scott’s been throwing over the last day:

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Red Sox to trade Kevin Youkilis? Ben Cherington denies report

Kevin Youkilis has been the subject of trade rumors ever since starting off the season slowly, going on the disabled list, and seeing his replacement tear it up.

Will Middlebrooks is a top prospect in the Red Sox organization and has crushed the ball since being called up in May. The 23-year-old has hit .316 with six home runs, 21 RBIs and delivered a .922 OPS. His emergence has led to speculation that the Red Sox could deal Youkilis, who is making $12 million this season and due $13 million next year.

CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler tweeted on Friday that the “Red Sox are telling teams they definitely intend to trade Youkilis.” He also wrote that the Dodgers could be interested in making a play for Youk.

Sox GM Ben Cherington denied Knobler’s report.

“That’s inaccurate,” he told WEEI.com via email Friday afternoon. “Some teams have checked in on him. We haven’t told any teams we plan to trade him. It’s our job to listen if teams have interest. He’s swinging the bat well since coming off the DL and [is] a big part of our team and lineup.”

You would expect Cherington to deny the report for a few reasons. One, you don’t want your players being distracted by rumors. Two, if he says they’re not dealing Youk, it could persuade teams interested in acquiring the third baseman to offer more than normal.

If the Red Sox are planning to trade Youkilis, I imagine it won’t be for at least another month until teams are more aware of their standing relative to the trade deadline. Meanwhile, Youkilis has been hitting the ball well since being activated by the team and is boosting his value. Both SoCal teams should be interested.

H/T Hardball Talk
Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE