The Arizona Diamondbacks made history Sunday when the team selected pitcher Jacob Steinmetz in the 2021 MLB Draft.
Steinmetz, a righthander from New York, is believed to be the first known practicing Orthodox Jewish player selected by a major league team. Arizona made Steinmetz the 77th overall selection.
No practicing Orthodox Jewish player has even made it to the big leagues, according to the Associated Press. The 17-year-old has a good chance as his fastball currently sits in the mid-to-upper 90s and he is said to have a nasty curveball.
The Woodmere, Long Island, native, who attended The Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway, told the New York Post in a recent interview that he keeps the Sabbath and eats only kosher food, but plays during the Sabbath and on Jewish holidays. He said he elects to walk to games on the Sabbath rather than taking transportation.
According to the Post, Steinmetz would travel ahead of games and make accommodations near the field. It could mean lengthy walks to the ballpark in some instances.
“It’s never been frustrating to me,” he told the Post. “It’s just something I’ve always done. It makes me who I am. It’s definitely made [my life] different, but in a good way.”
It’s unclear when Steinmetz could possibly get to the majors.
Arizona’s top prospects include 10 pitchers in the top 20, according to MLB.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.