Matt Schuckman column sig

The name is the same. The competitiveness, intensity and swagger, too.

The game is what is different.

John Kramer IV is creating his legacy as a baseball player, not as a Hall of Fame basketball player like his father, John H. Kramer III, who is better known to Quincy High School fans as Jack Kramer, the second-leading scorer in Blue Devils history.

The son has signed to play collegiately at Ole Miss, one of the 16 teams playing in NCAA Division I super regionals this weekend and vying for a trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. His bat should fit nicely in the Rebels’ lineup once he gets to Oxford, Miss.

Kramer lit up St. Louis area pitching this spring to the tune of a .417 average and a St. Louis metro area best 11 home runs. He hit better than .400 in two of his three varsity seasons at Lafayette High School, losing his junior season to the coronavirus pandemic.

The left-handed hitting slugger ranked among the top 10 in the St. Louis area in five different individual statistical categories and was named the Suburban Yellow Conference Co-Player of the Year. He should be a top candidate for Metro Player of the Year.

Put it all together and it’s quite a season and quite a career.

Now, take a step back and look at the names Kramer has saddled himself next to or surpassed in Lafayette history and it sheds light on what will go down as one of the best prep slugging performances the Gateway City has seen.

Kramer’s 11 home runs tied the Lafayette single-season record, which was set by Gary Cooper, a 1986 draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals.

His 19 home runs set the career record, breaking the previous mark of 17 held by Ryan Howard, the former Philadelphia Phillies first baseman who was the 2005 NL Rookie of the Year, the 2006 NL MVP, a Home Run Derby champion and the 2009 NLCS MVP.

Kramer tied the Lafayette single-season record with 44 runs scored, tied for second in career RBIs with 64 and tied for sixth in single-season RBIs (33) and hits (42).

Those are better numbers than esteemed Lafayette alums like David Freese, the former St. Louis Cardinals third baseman who was the 2011 NLCS and World Series MVP and will forever be part of Cardinals’ lore for his World Series Game 6 heroics against the Texas Rangers.

New York Yankees slugger Luke Voit, who led the American League in home runs during the 2020 season, also is a Lafayette alum. The Lancers have had 32 players selected in the MLB amateur draft since 1970.

That’s not shabby company to keep.

Neither is that of the company his dad keeps. Jack Kramer played for QHS from 1982-86, scoring 1,878 points and setting the career record for most free throws made with 398.The 719 points he scored as a senior ranks fourth in single-season history.

Throughout his career, he became known as Mr. Clutch for his late-game and last-second shot-making ability, none of which resonated more than banking in a 14-foot jumper with two seconds remaining to beat Collinsville 68-67 in the fourth annual 7-Up Shootout at the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis.

Jack played collegiately at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, helping the Blazers win the Sun Belt Conference regular-season championship and receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament his junior season.

A shooting guard in high school, Kramer shifted to point guard and led UAB in assists three straight seasons. He still shares the single-game assist record with 14, holds the career assists-per-game average at 6.1 and is third in career assists with 586.

His younger son, Nick, who will be a senior shooting guard for the St. Louis University High boys basketball team next winter and will play in the Quincy Shootout next January, has received a scholarship offer from UAB.

Ironically, UAB’s head coach is Andy Kenndy, who was Jack Kramer’s backcourt mate with the Blazers.

Regardless of where Nick Kramer ends up — he holds interest from multiple NCAA Division I programs — he has a chance to carve his own niche.

John Kramer IV has done that in a loud, powerful and historic way.

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