Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Erik Kratz.
The journeyman major leaguer is now the answer to a baseball trivia question.
Ten days ago, Kratz became the first player since 1879 to pitch AND catch for two different major league teams in a single season.
On June 21, the Pirates catcher tossed a scoreless inning after being forced into relief in Pittsburgh’s 15-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants. He allowed two hits, but finished the inning unscathed, and even struck out Brandon Belt. Two months earlier, Kratz took the mound for the Houston Astros to finish out an 11-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners. In that one, he allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits. The Astros. The Astros released him in late May, and after a brief stop with the Angels, Kratz was on to Pittsburgh where he made baseball history. Anyone who is the first to do something in 137 years is, well, pretty cool, don’t you think?
Baseball is chock full of Erik Kratzes. Nondescript players by most accounts who end up as historical footnotes. And, perhaps, like cerebral catchers who end up as big league managers (See Mike Scioscia, Mike Matheny, Bruce Bochy, Kevin Cash, John Gibbons, etal).
The moral of the story? If your son wants to be a big leaguer, tell him to be a catcher.