Dodgers Outfielder Shawn Green's decision to sit out L.A.'s Sept. 26 game against the Giants—a matchup that could have an impact on the Dodgers' postseason hopes—to observe Yom Kippur isn't the first time sports has run up against faith:
In a decision immortalized in Chariots of Fire, the British sprinter, a devout Presbyterian, opted not to compete in the 100 meters at the 1924 Olympics because qualifying heats were to be held on a Sunday. Instead, Liddell ran the 200, earning the bronze, and the 400, which he won in Olympic record time.
As his Tigers battled the Yankees for the 1934 pennant, Greenberg consulted a rabbi to decide whether he should play on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. He was cleared to play on the former, the celebratory Jewish New Year, but not the latter, the somber Day of Atonement. Greenberg hit two homers in a 2-1 win over the Red Sox on Rosh Hashanah and then didn't play on Yom Kippur nine days later. The Tigers won the pennant by seven games.
After earning pitching's version of the Triple Crown in 1965 (26 wins, 2.04 ERA, 382 strikeouts), the Dodgers ace declined to pitch in Game 1 of the World Series against the Twins because it fell on Yom Kippur; replacement Don Drysdale was shelled for seven runs in 2? innings. Koufax lost Game 2 but rebounded to throw complete-game shutouts in Games 5 and 7 and win the Series MVP award.
The prized Brewers outfield prospect joined the Worldwide Church of God before the 1977 season and declared that he'd observe his church's Sabbath (sundown Friday to sundown Saturday). Dubbed the Sundown Kid, Thomas quickly dropped through the farm system due to poor play and conflicts with managers. By season's end the sun had set on his pro career.
A Rangers righthander and Seventh-Day Adventist, Correa negotiated with the team not to pitch on Friday nights or Saturday afternoons during the 1987 season. The arrangement was honored until June 27, when, at the team's urging, he reluctantly took the mound and won the first game of a Saturday doubleheader in Minnesota. In his next start, on July 5, Correa blew out his shoulder. He never pitched again.