Fans assumed superstar Sandy Koufax would take the mound as starting pitcher in Game 1 of the 1965 World Series. It was on Yom Kippur—the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Thus, Koufax told his Dodger manager he would not be available.
“I had taken Yom Kippur off for 10 years and Rosh Hashanah for 10 years before that—it’s just something I’d always done out of respect.”
Following a command in Leviticus 23:32, "It is a Sabbath rest for you, and you must deny yourself," it sent an important message to the Jewish community.
The Dodgers lost both Game 1 and Game 2. But when they came back to Minneapolis where Koufax had sat out, he had a complete game shutout; the Dodgers won and clinched the title, winning Koufax World Series MVP for the second time in his career.