Dean Kremer, Israel’s first Major League Baseball pitcher made a sparkling debut for Baltimore as the Orioles defeated the New York Yankees 5-1 at Camden Yards. Born in California to Israeli parents, the righty recorded the win going 6 innings, struck out 7 and gave up only one base hit to go along with 3 walks.
“It’s a dream come true,” Kremer said following the victory. “We practice everyday for years to get to this point, so it’s really a dream come true.”
Kremer, who was part of the 60-man pool put together in July for the 2020 season joined the Birds in 2018 as part of the Manny Machado trade with Dodgers. Originally selected by the San Diego Padres in the 38th round of the 2015 MLB draft, the Stockton native decided to attend UNLV and went back into the pool the following year where the Dodgers snagged him in the 14th round. After signing with LA, Kremer made his professional debut that summer in the Rookie Pioneer League and continued to move up the minor league ladder.
When the call came from General Manager Mike Elias and Manager Brandon Hyde that Kremer would be heading to Baltimore to make his first Major League start he couldn’t contain his excitement, “I found out at 10:30 when I got the call from Mike and Brandon and they said ‘You want to come pitch tomorrow?’ Sure absolutely I said. I was excited and I got enough sleep but my mind was racing. All I was trying to do was to just try and focus on the work of pitching.”
Kremer got off to a hot start striking out the first two batters he faced in a 1-2-3 opening frame. However, the second inning saw the flamethrower tested as the Yankees threatened, but Kremer was able to keep his composure and get out of the jam. “I was really impressed as to how he pitched in the second inning where he showed his character and poise,” explained Hyde. “He had a great first inning, he made the adjustments he had to and kept it a one run game. It showed a lot about his character and confidence.”
Facing the Bronx Bombers in your first game is never an easy feat despite having some of their big bats including Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton on the shelf, “They are a storied franchise and they have power hitters and guys good with the bat, I was just happy that I could compete,” said Kremer.
Kremer credited his battery mate Bryan Holoday for coming up with a game plan in his first start, “He was awesome and he read my mind the entire game. He put together a great game plan which we went over and I couldn’t have asked for a better battery mate back there. He helped me relax throughout the game.”
Holoday gave the credit all to the man of the hour, “I thought he did a tremendous job keeping his composure out there. He just attacked the strike zone and stuck to his strengths. He maintained his composure and he really acted like he’s been there before. That presence he brought was huge. You wouldn’t have been able to tell it was his first time out there. That speaks a lot to his character and absolutely helps his talent come out on the field.”
Of course, Kremer has faced adversity in the past when he featured for Israel in the World Baseball Classic in 2017 along with the competitions qualifying rounds. He also picked up a number of awards representing the blue-and-white in the European Championships.
But being the first Israeli to record a win is a whole different ball game as the next generation of Sabras now have a role model to look up to, “It’s awesome being able to hold a torch so to speak. I may have been born in America but I have been to Israel many times and it’s great to see the competition getting better over there. But I’m not the only Israeli now as we have some big leaguers in Ryan Lavarnway (who became the first Israeli earlier this summer to play in an MLB game), Danny Valencia and Ian Kinsler who will play in the Olympics.”
As for his Major League future, Hyde plans on keeping Kremer around for the balance of the season, “He’s going to stay and we’re going to take a look this month. He’s one of the starters we acquired with high hopes. We really liked what he did in spring training and we really like his stuff and makeup.”
Kremer understands that he will now be a guiding light for all of those youngsters back in the Holy Land who one day dream of putting on a Major League uniform and walk onto the field of dreams, “We just want to show the kids back in Israel that it’s possible to get here.”