By Brooks DuBose
Before new Orioles pitching prospect Dean Kremer made headlines for being one of the five players the Los Angeles Dodgers shipped to the Orioles for infielder Manny Machado July 18, he made history two years earlier for a different reason.
Kremer, who was born and raised in California, became the first Israeli-born player to earn a contract with a major league organization when the right-hander was drafted by the Dodgers in the 14th round of the 2016 MLB Draft.
“[I’m] very grateful to be able to say I’m the first to do something positive in being the first Israeli to sign a pro contract,” Kremer said on Glenn Clark Radio July 31.
Kremer holds Israeli citizenship and split time between California and Israel growing up. Kremer said he wants to “lead the way” in showing the Jewish and Israeli communities that it’s possible to be successful in sports.
The 22-year-old made a name for himself internationally when he helped Team USA win a gold medal at the 2013 Maccabiah Games in Israel. He also competed for the Israeli national team during the 2014 European Championships and pitched during a 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifier.
Like Dodgers pitching great Sandy Koufax, Kremer said he would not pitch if one of his starts fell on the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. Koufax famously chose not to start Game 1 of the 1965 World Series for the Dodgers because it fell on the Jewish Day of Atonement. The Dodgers lost, but Koufax was hailed by the Jewish community for his commitment to his faith.
“I couldn’t do it,” Kremer said of having to pitch on the holiday, “Although I’m not the most religious, I do like to know a lot about my heritage.”
Read the complete story at PressBox: Orioles Prospect Dean Kremer Wants To ‘Lead The Way’ As Israeli Baseball Player