During his April 2007 bar mitzvah at Congregation Albert in Albuquerque, N.M., Alex Bregman had just finished reciting his Torah portion known as “Tazria-Metzora” and was diving into his speech. About halfway through the six-page, double-spaced document, he took a slight pause and slowly articulated his core message.
“When I think about the future and how I can make a difference in the world, I want to be able to use my love of the game of baseball to be a good example and a good person,” the 13-year-old, decked in a snazzy pin-striped suit, declared. “I want to be a professional athlete who plays for the love of the game, never quits trying to give my best and is a good role model for all of the kids who look up to baseball players.”
A decade and a half later, a 28-year-old Bregman, now a two-time World Series champion for the dynastic Houston Astros, who prevailed over the Philadelphia Phillies in this year’s Series, has established himself as the premier Jewish slugger of his generation, one whom countless young ball players of all faiths look up to. Not to mention, some of his very own teammates.
“He [Bregman] is one of the leaders on our team,” said Houston outfielder Chas McCormick. “I think a lot of people look up to him as a leader. It’s hard not to. He works super hard. He cares so much. He loves the game. He loves working hard. He comes to the ballpark everyday [thinking of] how can he find a way to be a better player, be a better teammate. He’s always doing his homework after the game, before the game. How he controls the zone, plate discipline wise, how smart he is up there—you try to learn off of him.
“He’s had such a good year. He struggled a little bit maybe in the beginning of the season, but after that he just caught fire and has been so consistent. He’s played almost every game this year. It was cool to see him really want to play every single day. And there were times where coaches wanted to give him an off day and he’s like, ‘No, I want to play. I don’t want an off day.’ I have enjoyed watching him want to play every single night.”
The two-time All-Star third baseman—and new dad to his adorable son, Knox—is not even 30 (he turns 29 in March) and has already played in four World Series and six American League Championship Series (ALCS). Calling Bregman a modern-day Al Rosen, the highly productive third baseman who anchored Cleveland Indians’ lineups in the mid-20th century, seems reasonable.
Perhaps if he stays in good health—something that eluded him in 2021 when a strained left quadriceps cut short his regular season by two months and may have contributed to a subpar World Series performance against the Atlanta Braves—and continues to play in the postseason on an annual basis, his Hall of Fame candidacy could one day be a topic of conversation.
“Well, he [Bregman] didn’t have a very good October last year,” admitted Astros manager Dusty Baker, who is likely bound for Cooperstown himself one day. “But last year he was hurt on and off most of the season, and I was always told that when you start off hurt or you’re hurt during the course of the season, you’re playing catchup most of the time. This year I think the fact that he played 150-something games and he was in the lineup every day and healthy and his legs were good. Alex Bregman lives for this. I mean he expects it from himself. He expects it from his teammates. He loves being in this position. He expects us and expects himself to win.”
This year I think the fact that he played 150-something games and he was in the lineup every day and healthy and his legs were good. Alex Bregman lives for this. I mean he expects it from himself. He expects it from his teammates. He loves being in this position. He expects us and expects himself to win.
During Game 2 of the ALCS against the Yankees last month, Bregman launched a three-run blast, setting the record for most postseason home runs by a third baseman. A few nights later, he cracked a go-ahead single in the seventh inning of an ALCS-clinching, 6-5, Game 4 win. All told, no other third baseman in MLB history, not even Chipper Jones, has driven in more runs in October than Bregman’s grand total of 47.
Although his career postseason average only stands at .237, he is signed to a long-term contract with the perennially contending Astros, a club that has found worthy replacements for erstwhile franchise cornerstones Carlos Correa and George Springer with Jeremy Pena and Yordan Alvarez, respectively, and should have more and more opportunities to pad his postseason power stats.
Following Houston’s 5-2 win in Game 2 of the World Series to avoid going down 2-0 to Philadelphia, Bregman, who had smoked a clutch two-run fifth-inning homer, acknowledged what many baseball fans were surely thinking: this was, quite simply, as good as it gets. After all, his Astros were three wins away from a second world championship in five years, and one that, at least in the eyes of many fans, would be their first legitimate title untarnished by the infamous sign-stealing scandal.
“Yeah, in all honesty though,” he said, “this is probably the most fun I ever had playing baseball.”
- David Ostrowsky
- Congregation Albert
- Alex Bregman
- Houston Astros
- World Series
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Chas McCormick
- American League Championship Series
- Al Rosen
- Cleveland Indians
- Hall of Fame
- Atlanta Braves
- Dusty Baker
- Carlos Correa
- George Springer
- Jeremy Pena
- Yordan Alvarez