A career revival for the slugger turned pitcher began on this day in 2002.
First baseman/outfielder Brooks Kieschnick was a great collegiate player and a top prospect in the minors, making Baseball America's list of the minors' top 100 talents for three consecutive years in the 90's. In the majors, however, his bat never quite lived up to the hype. He was a career .220/.297/.405 hitter when the Brewers signed him as a minor league free agent ten years ago today and launched the experiment that brought him back to the big leagues.
Kieschnick had pitched a few times in the minors (27 appearances over ten professional seasons), but the Brewers converted him to the mound full time in 2003. He made his big league pitching debut on May 2 of that season and went on to appear in 42 games as one of the rare bright spots on a dreadful Brewer team.
Kieschnick's power bat, however, made him a rare double threat. He batted .300/.355/.614 over 76 plate appearances in his first season as a Brewer, setting career highs with seven home runs and 12 RBI. Even as a pitcher, he was the DH in several interleague games in AL parks.
The Brewers eventually released Kieschnick near the end of spring training in 2005, but his two seasons on a big league roster practically doubled his major league service time.
Today is also the 15th anniversary of the Brewers' official move from the AL to the NL. We covered that event in this space last year.