1979 Fairfax High School and 1983 St. Cloud State graduate Dana Kiecker was born in Sleepy Eye on February 25, 1961.
He was selected by the Red Sox in the eighth round of the 1983 draft. He made his major league debut on April 12, 1990 at age 29, pitching four innings of relief in a Red Sox loss at Tiger Stadium.
Kiecker pitched in 50 major league games for Boston between 1990 and ‘91, making 30 starts, compiling a 10-12 record with a 4.68 ERA.
He made two starts at the Metrodome in 1990. On May 27, he gave up a home run to leadoff hitter Dan Gladden on his second-ever professional pitch in his home state. He recovered, however, and pitched seven strong innings, holding the Twins to three runs on six hits and a walk before being relieved by Jeff Reardon. Unfortunately for Kiecker, Twins rookie Kevin Tapani was better. After putting runners on second and third to start the game, Tapani struck out the next three batters, including cleanup hitter Tom Brunansky, to get out of one heckuva jam. Tapani went on to hold the Red Sox to just one run over seven innings, before Rick Aguilera came in for a six-out save.
Kiecker made his second Metrodome start on July 5, opposing Scott Erickson, who was pitching in just his third big league game. Kiecker allowed two runs on five hits and four walks over 5.2 innings, taking a no-decision in a 7-4 Red Sox loss.
Kiecker gave up a three-run home run to fellow southwest Minnesotan Terry Steinbach in the top of the first on September 3, 1990. That blow knocked Kiecker out of the game, having given up five runs to Oakland while only recording two outs.
Jim Eisenreich and Kiecker are the only pair of St. Cloud State alumni to play against each other in the major leagues. Eisenreich went 4-for-8 with a walk and two doubles versus Kiecker between 1990 and 1991. Kiecker and Eisenreich were teammates at St. Cloud in 1980, along with Bob Hegman, who played half an inning in the field for the eventual World Series champion Kansas City Royals on August 8, 1985.
“Dana Kiecker Street” is home to the Fairfax townball field. I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard it’s a beautiful ballpark.
You can hear Kiecker on St. Paul Saints radio broadcasts this summer.