Lawrence Alan Yellen
Yellen, a right-handed reliever, appeared in 14 games for the Houston Colt .45s (now the Astros) in 1963-64 without recording either a win or a loss. In 1963, Yellen was supposed to make his major league debut against the New York Mets on Yom Kippur, but chose not to play.
Two years later, Sandy Koufax made a historical decision to skip a World Series game because of Yom Kippur and 38 years later (in 2001) current Jewish slugger Shawn Green decided to skip a key late-season contest because the game was played on Yom Kippur.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. January 4, 1943
A graduate of Lafayette High School in Brooklyn (the same as Sandy Koufax) Yellen pitched 61 innings and struck out 100 opponents without allowing a single run as a senior. Called up by the Houston Colt .45s from the minors in September 1963, Larry was slated to make his major league debut against the New York Mets on September 27, which happened to be Yom Kippur. Yellen told the Forward, "When my parents read in The New York Times that I was going to be playing on Yom Kippur my mom called me and asked how I could disgrace the family...Out of respect for my family and Judaism, I decided not to play."
Instead of pitching on September 27, the Houston management moved his debut up a day and he faced the Pittsburgh Pirates. In his only appearance of the season, Yellen hurled five innings, gave up seven hits and struck out three, but did not figure in the decision (a 5-4 Houston victory). His ERA for the game, and the year, was a solid 3.60. The following season, he appeared in 13 games, including one start, and finished the year with an ERA of 6.86.
After the 1964 season, Yellen was sent back down to the minors and he never returned to the majors. With a wife and two children, he decided to get a "real job." Yellen, who currently lives in Georgia, is the director of marketing for the Racquet Club of the South in suburban Atlanta.
Yellen pitched for the Houston Colt .45's (Astros), 1963-64.
5'11", 190 pounds
Winning pct.: --
Games Started: 2
Complete Games: 0
Innings Pitched: 26
Hits Allowed: 34
Strike Outs: 12
Home Runs: 0
Batting Average: .000
Double Plays: 0
Total Chances per Game: 0.4
Fielding avg: 1.000
Use links below to navigate through the baseball section of Jews In Sports.
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
The Baseball Encyclopedia: Tenth Edition (New York: McMillan, 1996)