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Erik Kratz is the oldest playoff first-timer in 113 years, and he’s raking in the NLDS

38-year-old catcher has five hits in two NLDS games for the Brewers

MLB: NLDS-Milwaukee Brewers at Colorado Rockies
Erik Kratz, holding on to this opportunity for dear life.
Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

Erik Kratz is finally playing in the major league playoffs for the first time in his 17 years of professional baseball, and he’s making the most of it for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brewers catcher delivered a two-run single in the eighth inning of Game 2 that doubled Milwaukee’s advantage, then on Sunday in Game 3 added three more hits, including a double.

At 38 years, 114 days old on Sunday, Kratz is the second-oldest catcher in MLB postseason history with three hits in a game, 213 days younger than Bob Boone in Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS.

Kratz is the oldest player to make his postseason debut since 1905, when 39-year-old Lave Cross played third base for the Philadelphia A’s.

“Yeah, he was a really good third baseman. We played together in rookie ball,” Kratz joked to reporters before Sunday’s game.

Kratz has been around the block, playing for seven different teams in his nine major league seasons. He played for several playoff teams — the 2011 Phillies, 2014 and 2015 Royals, and 2017 Yankees — but never got into a postseason game, before this year with the Brewers.

A career .211/.258/.363 hitter in 868 career plate appearances, Kratz set career highs for hits (48) and plate appearances (219) this year with the Brewers, and his 67 games is one shy of his career best. His 54 starts at catcher matched his personal high, set in 2013 with the Phillies.

Kratz was a 29th-round selection by the Blue Jays in the 2002 draft, so even making the majors was a long shot for him. But here he is, 16 years later and suiting up in important games. Kratz played in 16 different minor league cities, including nine Triple-A teams alone — Syracuse, Indianapolis, Lehigh Valley, Buffalo, Omaha, Tacoma, Salt Lake, Columbus, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

A true baseball lifer is getting his shot on the big stage, and hasn’t disappointed.

“It’s something that is part of history, so maybe in 113 years, some dude is going to be like, Erik Kratz -- is it Kratz? What is that? It’s something that — it’s cool,” he said. “Any time you’re part of baseball history on the positive side, it’s really cool.”

Very cool.