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Last updated November 24.

Aug. 2, 2010 issue

EMU, Christopher Dock grad gets big-league baseball call

Web exclusive: extended version

By Mennonite Weekly Review staff

More than most baseball players, Erik Kratz paid his dues to earn a big-league job.

Erik Kratz bats for the Indianapolis Indians before being called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Erik Kratz bats for the Indianapolis Indians before being called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates. — Photo by Bill Gentry

After eight and half years in the minors, the 30-year-old catcher finally got a major-league call July 14. He joined the Pittsburgh Pirates two days later, moving up from the Indianapolis Indians of the International League.

A native of Telford, Pa., Kratz is a member of Souderton (Pa.) Mennonite Church. He graduated from Christopher Dock Mennonite High School in Lansdale, Pa., and Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va.

In his major-league debut on July 17 in Pittsburgh against the Houston Astros, Kratz hit two singles in five times at bat, with one run scored and one run batted in.

Rob Roeschley, Kratz’s coach at EMU, said Kratz showed diligence in earning a shot at the big leagues after playing professionally for eight years.

“It’s totally a reflection on him and the work that he put forth,” Roeschley said. “He did everything he needed to get in position to get drafted, and he did everything in his pro career to put himself in the position he is in now.

“If anyone else besides Erik deserves credit, it’s his wife, Sarah. She stood beside him and supported him and has shown what a fine wife she is. She should get a lot of credit.”

Kratz came to EMU after graduating from Christopher Dock in 1998.

Tim Ehst, athletic director at the Mennonite high school, remembers Kratz’s passion for the game.

“Erik’s story is one of athletic giftedness, perseverance and personal values that honor his family and Christian faith communities that have influenced his life,” Ehst said in an e-mail.

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