By Rob Charry, JTA, Jerusalem Post—-
Is it possible to play Major League Baseball while being a Sabbath-observant Jew?
It’s a question that could have an answer within the next few years if Elie Kligman, an 18-year-old from Las Vegas, has anything to say about it.
Kligman is considered one of the top high school players in the West and is being recruited by major colleges. The 6-foot, 185-pound senior plays several infield positions and pitches.
But his sports agent father, Marc, thinks his best route to the majors would be as a switch-hitting, strong-armed catcher. Kligman has registered for baseball’s new draft portal, where prospective picks fill out information forms.
Neither the colleges nor the pros have gotten to see much of Kligman on the field over the past two seasons because of COVID, as there have been few games to showcase his talents.
Kligman likely would have accepted a scholarship to college as early as last summer, before his senior year, but now expects to make that decision by July at the latest. (He preferred not to say which schools are recruiting him, but said they are in Division I, the highest rung in college sports.)
Marc Kligman does not expect his son to be picked in July’s MLB draft — but he didn’t rule it out, adding that he believes his older of two sons is ready for that step, even with the COVID obstacles. And if a team makes a good enough offer, Marc Kligman would encourage Elie to take it.
Why does Elie Kligman think he could convince a major league team to sign a Sabbath-observant player, one who wouldn’t be available for as many as two games a week?
The teenager was ready with a quick response.
“Most guys don’t play 162 games a year. If I’m a catcher, not playing three days in the week or two days in the week is pretty normal, so I don’t think it would be that different from other guys,” he said. “I would just be missing different days.”
There would be even fewer obstacles if Kligman made it as a pitcher, with starters going every fifth game and relievers rarely appearing in more than three games in a row. Continue Reading….