On Monday, the New York Yankees selected the Jewish Louisiana State University pitcher Eric Reyzelman, 160th overall, in the fifth round of the Major League Baseball draft.
Reyzelman, born and raised in California, has never been to New York, even though he has always wanted to visit. The son of two Jewish immigrants — his mother from Ukraine and his father from Moldova — Reyzelman said he is looking forward to putting down Jewish roots in New York.
In conversation with JTA, Reyzelman said, “Everywhere I’ve gone, every Jewish person in so many areas of the country are somehow all Yankee fans. It’s unbelievable. Historically, it’s just the best team in baseball and to be able to play for them is an absolute dream come true.”
Although Reyzelman is not Orthodox like Jacob Steinmetz and Elie Kligman, who last year became the first two Orthodox Jewish players drafted into the MLB, he claims that his Jewish faith helps drive him on the mound and that he wants to get involved in the local Jewish community of wherever he ends up playing.
He added on Monday that he has always wanted to help offer baseball clinics for Jewish children who are interested in baseball.
Excited about his future, the 6-foot-2 righty who throws a fastball that can hit 100 miles per hour said, “I think there are a lot of really, really cool opportunities and I’m excited to just kind of delve into them.”