CINCINNATI — Ask anyone from Cincinnati and they’ll say it’s a baseball town. A big reason that the sport took off in the area and remained so popular is because of a man you might not have heard of.
Paul Kramer was the executive director of Kid Glove, an organization helping kids afford new baseball equipment. He died earlier this week.
“Very humble. Nice guy to talk to,” former WCPO sports director John Popovich said. “I’m sorry to say he’s not with us any longer because he had a great impact on baseball here.”
People may be familiar with the names on the field, but not so with Kramer’s work off the field.
“Kids have had a chance to watch the Johnny Benches, Pete Rose, Barry Larkins,” Popovich said. “Listening to Marty Brennaman. One of the guys, the name you don’t know, that was responsible for a lot of kids being able to play baseball was Paul Kramer. Because of Kid Glove.”
Kramer ran the organization for more than 30 years.
“They’d be in the stands wearing their uniforms,” Popovich said, remembering one of the first games in 1987. “They’d parade around the stadium, into the stadium and up to the seats.”
Back then, tickets were $3.50 – a large chunk of that money would be kicked back to the teams in the form of new baseballs, new gloves and bats.
“They’ve raised over $10 million over the years,” Popovich said. “That’s a lot of balls and bats.”
Kramer was at the heart of it all. People who knew him best said he worked his entire life to ensure kids could play baseball.
“Paul was one of those types of individuals from the first time you met him who you knew there would never be another one like him,” Reds Community Fund executive director Charley Frank told WCPO.
Kramer’s name was never up in the lights, but it is on two fields run by the Reds Community Fund.
“Without Paul Kramer, without Kid Glove, this community, this market, would be miles behind others when it comes to kids playing," Frank said.
The focus now is on keeping Kramer’s legacy alive – so that future generations will have a chance to enjoy America’s pastime.
“The community fund is working with the Kid Glove board to figure out what is the best way to get this program moving, and to keep the Kid Glove burning bright," Frank said.
Paul Kramer selflessly dedicated his time over 50 years promoting baseball and softball for local area youth and will be dearly missed by the Cincinnati Reds community. Services will be held on Nov. 14th at 12:00pm. The service will be streamed live here: https://t.co/9I2fappBKy pic.twitter.com/AhyV355GWj— Reds Community Fund (@RedsCommunity) November 12, 2020