Remington: Why aren’t there more Muslims in major league baseball?

From Alex Remington at FanGraphs on August 8, 2013:

To the best of my knowledge, there has only been one Muslim player in the history of major league baseball: Sam Khalifa, a Pirates backup shortstop who played 164 games in the 1980s before retiring following his father’s unexpected murder. (His Egyptian father, Rashad Khalifa, was a heterodox Muslim scholar in Tucson, Arizona, where Sam Khalifa grew up. Sam is now a baseball coach at his old high school, Sahuaro.)

Other American sports have featured well-known Muslims — Nigerian Hakeem Olajuwon and American Shareef Abdur-Raheem in the NBA; Americans Ahmad Rashad and Az-Zahir Hakim in the NFL; Lebanese-Canadian Nazem Kadri in the NHL; and of course, boxer Muhammad Ali has a claim to being the most famous American Muslim, period. (Incidentally, Ahmad Rashad was a student of Rashad Khalifa.) In baseball, meanwhile, while the majority of players have come from a Christian background, there have been members of many other religious minorities, both practicing and nonpracticing, like Ryan Braun (Jewish); Bryce Harper (Mormon); and Khalil Greene (Baha’i). (For that matter, back in 2009, when he was dating Kate Hudson, Alex Rodriguez considered converting to Buddhism.) So why haven’t there been more Muslims in baseball?
It’s something of an accident of history and geography, according to two sportswriters I contacted.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: August 8, 2013. Last Updated: August 8, 2013.