Mark Winston Kiger
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 190 lb.
- School Grossmont College, University of Florida
- High School La Jolla High School
- Debut October 13, 2006 (postseason)
- Final Game October 14, 2006
- Born May 30, 1980 in San Diego, CA USA
Mark Kiger became the first player since Bug Holliday in 1885 to make his major league debut in the postseason. An infielder, he played in two games for the Oakland Athletics in the 2006 American League Championship Series. He was added to Oakland's roster after second baseman Mark Ellis fractured his finger and was unable to play. He has never played in a regular season major league game.
Kiger had been picked by the Boston Red Sox in the 27th round of the 1999 amateur draft but did not sign out of high school. As a college freshman, he hit .314/?/.464 and stole 22 bases for Florida. He stole 19 while hitting .314/?/.423 as a sophomore. As a junior, the shortstop hit .403/~.516/.609, stole 11, walked 60 times in 65 games and scored 90 runs. He was second in NCAA Division I in both runs (three behind Khalil Greene) and walks (trailing Jeremy Brown. Kiger was picked by the Oakland A's in the fifth round of the 2002 amateur draft (the "Moneyball" draft).
Mark was initially assigned to the Vancouver Canadians, where he hit .244/.346/.362 while moving to second base. He led Northwest League second basemen in fielding percentage (.969). In '03, Kiger was in high A ball and doing fine, hitting .281/.375/.411 with the Modesto A's. He cracked 38 doubles, scored 95 and drew 77 walks while striking out 106 times. He led the California League in walks.
In 2004, the infielder batted .263/.369/.355 for the Midland RockHounds and walked 78 times and was 3 for 13 with three walks for the Sacramento RiverCats. He led the Texas League in fielding percentage at second base (.979). The next season, 2005, he was back with Midland and had an almost identical season - .267/.360/.367, 68 walks and the league-leading fielding percentage at 2B (.988).
Starting another year at Midland in 2006, Mark hit .307/.379/.450 and got a longer look at Sacramento (.233/.348/.330) before getting his post-season big-league debut and making history. He played two games in the 2006 ALCS against the Detroit Tigers, both as a late-game defensive replacement at second base,playing a total of 1 2/3 innings and recording one putout; he never went to bat and the A's were swept in four games.
He became a free agent after the 2006 season and signed with the New York Mets for 2007. He split the season between the AA Binghamton Mets, for whom he played 114 games, and the AAA New Orleans Zephyrs (14 games). His combined batting line was .297/.420/.460 with 28 doubles, 11 homers and 52 RBIs in 128 games with third base being his primary position. This good performance should have earned him a major league shot, but instead he became a free agent again and signed with the Seattle Mariners. 2008 was again spent in the minors, as a shortstop with the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx of the AA Southern League. He hit .223 in 109 games, although his OBP was a solid .351 in spite of his low batting average. He returned to the Mets organization in 2009, but missed a good part of the year with an injury. At Binghamton, he hit .240 in 54 games, but his average was .063 in a rehabilitation assignment with the GCL Mets and he went 0 for 4 in two games with the AAA Buffalo Bisons. It was his last season in organized baseball.
He retired with the distinction of being the first player in the modern era (post-1901) to make his debut in the postseason (Raul Mondesi became the second in 2015.) and the only one to have played the postseason but never in the regular season.
Primary Sources: 2003-2006 Baseball Almanac