Paul Hagen

Russian-born Major Leaguers in the modern era

Five Russian-born players have appeared in the Major Leagues in the modern era. If Phillies left-hander Anton Kuznetsov makes it, though, he'll be the first to have actually been raised in the former Soviet Union.

Each of those who preceded him moved to the United States at an early age and spent his formative baseball years here. The list:

1. Eddie Ainsmith
Born: 1890 in Moscow. Played for the Washington Senators, Tigers, Cardinals, Brooklyn Robins and New York Giants from 1910-24.

Ainsmith's family moved to the United States when he was very young, and he was raised in Cambridge, Mass. He spent the first nine years of his career with the Senators, where he was Hall of Famer Walter Johnson's favorite catcher. The Washington Post reported before the season opener in 1915: "For the seventh consecutive year Walter Johnson will work in the opening clash for the home folks, and in nearly as many seasons will Eddie Ainsworth be his battery mate. This pair always work together, and no pitcher and catcher in either league are better acquainted when it comes to baseball."

Russian prospect Kuznetsov a thrill for Phils

2. Rube Schauer
Born: 1891 in Odessa. Played for the New York Giants and Philadelphia Athletics, 1913-17

Schauer's family moved to New York in 1900. According to "[The right-handed pitcher] had one of the most rapid ascents to the Major Leagues in baseball history. In 1912, he was playing for his hometown semi-pro team in rural North Dakota, and by the end of 1913, his first season in professional baseball -- he was a member of the pennant-winning New York Giants. Schauer's descent was just as quick. Five years later, with a career record of 10 wins and 29 losses, and only 26 years old, his Major League career was over."

3. Reuben Ewing
Born: 1899 in Odessa. Played for the Cardinals in 1921.

Ewing's Jewish Russian parents emigrated to the United States in 1904. The outfielder played just three games for the Cardinals between June 21-27, batting just once.

4. Izzy Goldstein
Born: 1908 in Odessa. Played for the Tigers in '32.

The right-handed pitcher moved to New York as a boy, when his family left Russia because of discrimination against Jews by Czar Nicholas III. He appeared in 16 games, starting six. He went 3-2 with a 4.47 ERA in his only big league season.

5. Victor Cole
Born: 1968 in Leningrad. Played for the Pirates in '92.

Cole's father was from Sierra Leone and was studying medicine in Russia when he met and married a Russian woman. The family moved to the United States when the right-handed pitcher was four. He made eight appearances, including four starts, going 0-2, 5.48.

Paul Hagen, a reporter for, won the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in 2013 for a lifetime of excellence in baseball writing. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.