(JTA) — On a night when Dean Kremer became the first Israeli-American to start an MLB playoff game — while his parents’ country was at war, no less — fellow Jewish player Alex Bregman drew a Star of David on his Houston Astros hat for his own Tuesday night playoff game.
Kremer, who holds dual citizenship, did not fare so well in his historic start: the 27-year-old surrendered six earned runs in just 1.2 innings, and his Baltimore Orioles lost 7-1 to the Texas Rangers in a game that ended their once-promising season.
Bregman, who has expressed his own form of Jewish pride in the past and has been involved with Houston’s Jewish community, had more luck on Tuesday.
In the fifth inning of Houston’s American League Division Series matchup against the Minnesota Twins, Bregman slugged a solo home run to extend the Astros’ lead to 5-0. Houston would go on to win 9-1 and take a 2-1 series lead.
Bregman, who is only 29, has already become one of the more decorated postseason hitters in MLB history. The two-time World Series champion is seventh all-time in career postseason runs scored (57) and runs batted in (49), and he is ninth in walks (47). Last season, he broke the all-time records for most playoff home runs and RBIs by a third baseman in the playoffs.
Prior to his game, Kremer had said Israel would be “in the back of my head.” He is fluent in Hebrew and spends time each year in Israel, where much of his extended family lives. He has also played for Team Israel numerous times, including in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
On Tuesday night, Kremer wore a star of David necklace on the mound, as he usually does when he pitches. He had said he received support from his manager and teammates.
Fellow Orioles pitcher Kyle Gibson reiterated that support following Tuesday’s loss.
“I don’t know that anybody in this game has ever dealt with what he had to deal with today,” Gibson said. “I feel for him. He’s got so much on his mind right now. I’m super proud of him. What he did today, like I said — you find me another example of somebody who went through what he’s gone through the last five days and gone through it the way he did. I’m really proud of him.”
During the Fox Sports broadcast of the Orioles game, the network shared that Fox Corporation, its parent company, would be donating $1 million to an emergency Israel fund set up by UJA-Federation of New York, the New York area’s Jewish federation. The broadcast shared a link for viewers to donate as well.
Bregman followed in the footsteps of players such as Julian Edelman and Deni Avdija, who have also sported Jewish symbols on their uniforms after crises affecting Jews around the world.
In 2018, Edelman, then a member of the NFL’s New England Patriots, wore a Jewish star and Hebrew words on his cleats as a tribute to victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. And in May 2022, Avdija, an Israeli member of the NBA’s Washington Wizards, drew Stars of David on his sneakers as violence raged in his home country.