Friday, November 12, 2010
Non-HoF Autographs: Erik Kratz
I totally forgot about this one.
Erik Kratz is a ballplayer who has spent the majority of his career in the minor leagues, but this past year he got his first chance to play at the major league level when his number was finally called by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The story may have been one of the most heartwarming of the entire baseball season.
But as you can tell from the above photo, this item is not a Pirates cap - in fact, it isn't even from a Pirates minor league team. The above photo is of a signed New Hampshire Fisher Cats cap. The Fischer Cats are a AA Minor League affiliate for the Toronto Blue Jays. Erik was drafted by the Jays, and played for several seasons in their system.
That still doesn't explain the hat. Well, I graduated from Eastern Mennonite University, which is the same school that Erik graduated from. We even had a few classes together. A fellow EMU employee who was good friends with Erik and who worked there gave me this game worn cap because he knew I was a fan of the Blue Jays. A few years later I was at an event on campus that Erik was speaking at, and I got him to autograph the cap for me (which is a little hard to make out in the picture).
A side note - at this very same event, Charlie Manuel, manager of the Phillies, was there as the main speaker for the evening. I got his autograph on the program for the night, but unfortunately that memento got misplaced in our move from Virginia to California.
Side Note: I just learned that Erik has been signed by the team he grew up cheering for - the Philadelphia Phillies. Very cool!