Israeli citizen Dean Kremer was the first Israeli to be drafted by a major league baseball (MLB) team and on Sunday, became the first Israeli ever to pitch and win a game, and he did it on his debut against the famed New York Yankees.
On Saturday night, Orioles general manager Mike Elias and manager Brandon Hyde called Kremer, at the time, an Orioles’ pitching prospect, and asked if he wanted to pitch the next day against the Yankees. Kremer responded in the affirmative and the result was history in he making.
Kremer made a stunning debut and became the first Israeli to ever pitch in an MLB game and also the first Israeli to win a game. But he did more than simply win, he dominated a tremendous team.
Kremer outpitched New York’s two-time All-Star Masahiro Tanaka over the course of 6 innings. He surrendered only one hit and one run with three walks and seven strikeouts against a hard-hitting lineup.
Kremer struck out the Yankees leadoff batter DJ LeMahieu as well as their home run leader Luke Voit. He then retired veteran Brett Gardner for a perfect 1-2-3 opening frame. In the bottom of the first, Baltimore’s DJ Stewart lined a two-run homer off Tanaka and gave Kremer the lead which he would then never lose.
Kremer, “It’s a dream come true. We practice every day for years to get to this point. Just to have had it is a dream come true.”
In his first major league outing, Kremer threw 88 pitches and led the Orioles to a series win over the Yankees.
While Kremer is the first Israeli citizen to be drafted in baseball and the first one to pitch in the majors, he is not the first Israeli citizen to play in the majors. That designation belongs to Ryan Lavarnway, who obtained Israeli citizenship in November in order to play for Team Israel at the Tokyo Olympics this year. The Olympics, however, were postponed to next summer due to the coronavirus. Lavarnway was called up to the Miami Marlins in August, making him the first Israeli to play, but he was later designated for assignment.
According to a report in the CBS affiliate in Baltimore, Kremer told reporters that he takes his Jewishness seriously and would not pitch on Yom Kippur.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)