The coming of Shohei Ohtani means a potential two way player in the MLB. However, not the first. Most recently, it was a player for the Milwaukee Brewers who played on both sides of the ball.
Brooks Kieschnick played both ways for the Milwaukee Brewers back in 2003 and 2004. His name might have been lost to history if Ohtani did not burst into mainstream media. But the big righty on the bump and lefty at the plate played two ways over a decade ago.
His career is not anything too special. The Chicago Cubs selected him 10th overall in 1993, and he debuted in the MLB three years later. After stints with the Reds and Rockies, as well as Cubs and Brewers, Kieschnick’s time on the MLB came to an end. Overall, he batted .248 in 336 plate appearances
Two Years of Glory
Up until 2003, Kieschnick just hit. However, after excelling in both areas of the game at the University of Texas, he found himself on the mound. It turns out, he may have been a better pitcher than hitter.
It took him a year to get back into his groove, throwing for an ERA over five in his first year on the bump in the MLB. But in 2004 he showed more promise. He posted an ERA of 3.77. And his BABIP dropped to .279 from the rather high .341 the year before.
How Did He Become A Two Way Player?
After four seasons in the MLB as just an outfielder, it is a little odd for the Milwaukee Brewers to just give him the ball. There is more to that story. Kieschnick spent the 2002 campaign in the minors for the Chicago White Sox. They let him play both ways there. The Crew took note, and brought him on.
Most notably, he is the only player in MLB history to hit a homerun as a pitcher, DH, and pinch hitter in the same season. Now, Ohtani might join him, but we all know Kieschnick is the first. With the impending Japanese superstar on the horizon, the former Milwaukee Brewers player will not be the most recent two way player.
Anyone who can pitch, hit, and play the field at the MLB level is a true baseball talent. Even if he is not the most memorable name in baseball history(maybe because no one can pronounce it) Kienschnick played two ways in the highest ranks of baseball there is, and that is something impressive.