Major League Baseball has just drafted its first Israeli player.
Dean Kremer is a 19-year-old pitcher who has been picked up by the San Diego Padres. Though he was born and raised in Stockton, CA, he is the son of Israeli parents, holds dual citizenship, spends his summers in the Jewish state, speaks fluent Hebrew, and says he strongly identifies as Israeli.
“(I’m) definitely honored,” the 6-foot-2 Kremer told the Associated Press. “I like to represent my country in any way possible…I’d love to be the person to get Israel baseball on the map.”
“Half my family, I can tell you that they still don’t know what baseball is. They don’t understand the game,” he added. “Israeli guys like upbeat tempo things where they can’t get bored. People are aggressive here.”
“Here it’s not as competitive but it is still a high level and it’s definitely developing,” he said. “I did get a lot of questions from the kids in the camp the past two weeks asking me questions about the draft, asking me like how to get better and I feel like watching my progress will help inspire them.”
“We are obviously proud of it. We want the world to know that we have a guy who was just selected,” said Nate Fish, the Israel Association of Baseball’s national director. “It’s tough to say what is going to happen with the guy, but he has all the things you need to be successful at that level and get to the major leagues.”