LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — All athletes are asked to sacrifice, but one Cimarron Memorial star is willing to risk his future for his religion.
This is a story with an extraordinary display of dedication to faith and fundamental beliefs.
Elie Kligman is an ultra competitor with the ultimate conviction. Far more impressive than his fastball is his faith.
“I didn’t really think twice about it. I knew I was keeping Shabas and I was going to be orthodox and I was going to play baseball. The mix of the two was never really a thought and it was the way I was brought up and the way I wanted to carry myself,” said Elie Kligman, Cimarron High School.
Elie is hitting over .500 and he has thrown no-hitters. He can also play any position on the field…until the sun sets on Friday.
Elie, 18, is an observant Jew and a college baseball prospect. Between sundown on Friday and sundown on Saturday though, he respects the Sabbath.
A devotion superseding the diamond.
“I don’t think there is really a role model for in terms of what I’m doing with Jewish and the baseball. The closest thing is Sandy Koufax obviously, but he only did it one time,” added Kligman.
His father, Marc Kligman, soaked up so much joy through baseball and passed it on to his sons. He now coaches them but says he is most proud that they give the beloved game the take sign for the Torah.
“I think that’s every parents’ dream, right, that they lead by example for your children with how you think is the right way to live and that they espouse that for themselves,” said Marc Kligman.
Now the challenge is convincing college baseball, where scholarships are a premium to gamble on a Las Vegan who can’t play on Friday nights or Saturday afternoons.
Elie’s coach cautions the programs not to swing and miss on an incredible kid.
“He can pitch, he can hit, he can run, he can throw. He can do it. I don’t see why anyone at the next level would want to give that a shot?” said Mike Hubel, coach.
Elie could be the first observant Jew in division one baseball history.
“I think that if I can show people that I don’t have to bend in my faith and I can be a major league baseball player or a division one baseball player, or however far I take it. I just want to show people you can do it,” added Elie.