A Veteran’s Perspective

5 Mar

The Athletic‘s Rustin Dodd has a fine profile today of veteran catcher/journeyman Erik Kratz, who likely will be the regular catcher at AAA Wilkes-Barre for the New York Yankees, barring injuries to starters Gary Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka. Kratz had a similar job last season.

A respected player and mentor, Kratz continues to find his way onto MLB team rosters even as he approaches age 40–almost ancient in baseball years.

For Kratz, the self improvement goes beyond what happens on the field. Early in his career, he became a master of survival, picking up little secrets here and there. He was a 29th-round pick from Eastern Mennonite University, a Division III school in Harrisonburg, Va., that he chose after even Division II schools showed little interest. He learned to care about which member of a front office would call to offer him a job. He realized that the key to holding on was reckoning with his own career mortality.

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