In another first for Israel, Dean Kramer has become the first Israeli pitcher to win a Major League Baseball Game. He did so for the Baltimore Orioles in a 5 to 1 victory over the New York Yankees in Baltimore on Sunday. It was his Major League debut and first start.
Before the game Israel Baseball issued a Tweet saying, “Mazel Tov to one of our own, #TeamIsrael pitcher @DJ_KREY6 who will make his @MLB debut today!”
“This is fun to watch,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde told the Baltimore Sun. “Young guys making their debuts, young guys gaining this experience and performing. It sets up well for the future. I think you saw his stuff and composure on the mound. To be able to wiggle out of it, only allowing a run that showed a lot about his character and his poise.”
that’s why his hair is so big… it’s full of secrets pic.twitter.com/kMIddbc4qx
— Baltimore Orioles 😷 (@Orioles) September 6, 2020
Dean Kremer has now pitched six MLB innings, has seven strike outs for an average of more than one strike out per inning and an Earned Run Average of 1.5. If you don’t know much about baseball, these are great numbers. They average to more than 200 strike outs in a full season, which is considered amazing, and an ERA under 3, let alone 2, is stupendous. But this year will see only 60 games played instead of the usual 162 because the Corona Virus cut the season short.
While pitching for the Baltimore Orioles’ Double A minor league affiliate the Bowie Baysox last year, Kremer had a 2.98 ERA in 15 starts.
— Israel Baseball (@ILBaseball) September 6, 2020
Before you get too excited, remember that this was just one game. Countless MLB pitchers have gotten off to great starts over the years, only to burn out quickly. Any New York Mets fan can give you a whole list of such pitchers.
The 24 year old is originally from Stockton, California. Dean Junior Kremer was born to Israeli parents and speaks fluent Hebrew. He even had his Bar Mitzvah in Israel. He pitched for Team USA in the 2013 Maccabiah Games held in Israel. That team took home the Gold.
Dean Kramer was first drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016. He made his way to the Orioles as part of a trade for Manny Machado in 2018.
“He’s been throwing the ball well in his secondary site,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’s built up as a starter. He’s thrown quite a few pitches in his last outing, so I’m going to let him go. I like the way he threw in spring training. I like his stuff. I like the pitch mix that he has, he’s got a starter arsenal with four pitches. Knows how to pitch and strike people out, I like the off-speed stuff. I’m excited to hand the ball to him to make his debut. It’s a day he’ll never forget, and a special day for him. I want him to have fun and enjoy it.”
Speaking about Judaism, Dean Kremer told the Connecticut Jewish Ledger in 2016, “The values and morals of a Jewish person were instilled in me, and that’s the way I live my life. Growing up, we would have Shabbat dinner as often as possible. I never attended Hebrew school formally, but since my parents are Israeli, I have been speaking Hebrew my entire life.”
“I just hope that the higher I go up in the system, the more baseball will become popular in Israel. I just want to set the example that it can be done,” Kremer said.
Peter Kurz, President of the Israel Association of Baseball, spoke about Dean Kremer’s dual-citizenship with MLB.com in 2016 saying that, “He lives in both worlds [America and Israel]. Among Israelis, he is a real Sabra [native-born Israeli], and among Americans, he is a real Yankee. All the people involved in baseball in Israel keep close track of his career, and we are very proud of him, even though he didn’t grow up here.”