Eli Morgan (Indians) is the latest Major Leaguer to be identified as Jewish

By Scott Barancik, editor

Eli Morgan, a rookie pitcher with the Cleveland Indians, is the latest Major Leaguer to be identified as Jewish.

A 25-year-old California native, Morgan was plucked out of Gonzaga University in the 8th round of the 2017 draft. The 5’10” righty made quick work of Cleveland’s farm system and proceeded to make his MLB debut on May 28, 2021.

That first appearance, a start against the Toronto Blue Jays, was not his finest moment. But Morgan didn’t crumble. Instead, he improved his ERA every month from May to September and won each of his final three starts. Morgan recorded a 2.55 ERA over those three games, held opponents to a meager .400 slugging percentage, and struck out 11 batters while walking just one.

How was Morgan’s Jewish lineage discovered? The Peninsula High School alum told Indians catcher and Team Israel member Ryan Lavarnway that his father is Jewish. Jewish Baseball News caught wind of the exchange, and together with our friends at Jewish Sports Review we confirmed Morgan’s eligibility.

Notably, Lavarnway went on to catch four of Morgan’s 18 starts during the 2021 season, making them the most recent example of Jewish batterymates.

The pair’s history-making didn’t stop there, however. In a June 22 matchup against Chicago, Morgan faced Cubs LF Joc Pederson three times with Lavarnway behind the plate.

Morgan got the best of the first two exchanges, striking out Pederson in the 1st inning and 4th inning. But Pederson exacted revenge in the 6th inning with a 2-run double.

Please join us in welcoming Eli.

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