From BR Bullpen
Robert William Mackowiak
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 168 lb.
- High School Oak Lawn High School
- College South Suburban Junior College
- Debut May 19, 2001
- Final Game June 5, 2008
- Born June 20, 1976 in Oak Lawn, IL USA
 Biographical Information
Rob Mackowiak (pronounced "mah-KOH-vee-ack)," has a wife, Jennifer, and a son, Garret, born May 28, 2004. Mackowiak was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 30th round of the 1995 amateur draft, but did not sign. In the following year's amateur draft, Mackowiak was drafted in the 53rd round by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and was signed by Pirates scout Bill Bryk.
In 1996, Mackowiak spent his first professional baseball season with Bradenton. In 1997, Mackowiak moved on to Erie, where he helped the SeaWolves reach a first-place finish. He ended up hitting the second-most doubles in the club for the season. Mackowiak began the 1998 season with Single A Pirates affiliate Augusta, before moving over to Lynchburg, high class A. He finished the season hitting .268 with four homers and 39 RBI in 111 games with the two clubs. He was also ranked second in the Lynchburg club in triples. 1999 was another split season for the rising Mackowiak. Whereas he started the season in Lynchburg, he was promoted to the Altoona Curve club where he hit safely in the first 15 of 17 games. His production fell off at the end of the season, however, where he was batting a mere .208 in his final 36 games.
Mackowiak spent his entire 2000 season with AA Altoona. It was a good year for Mackowiak, as he set career highs in every offensive category. Mackowiak had no set position for the club, which is perhaps where he got his start as a solid utility man. He made 71 appearances at second base, 38 in right field, 23 at third base, two at shortstop and one in left field. ackowiak was also given Player of the Month honors for the Altoona club in May. That winter, Rob hit .269/?/.434 for the Pastora de Occidente club in the Venezuelan Winter League.
2001 was a big season for Mackowiak. While beginning the year in Triple-A Nashville, Mackowiak excelled in his games. The Pirates bought Mackowiak's contract on May 18. Mackowiak's major league debut was at second base against Milwaukee, where he went 0-for-3 with an intentional walk. Mackowiak's first major league home-run came off of Florida's Braden Looper at PNC Park on May 30. 2002 was Mackowiak's first full season in the majors, where he made 76 appearances (40 starts) in right field, 42 appearances (37 starts) in center field, 26 appearances (22 starts) at third base, three appearances (one start) at second base and two appearances in left field.
2003 saw Mackowiak's second Opening Day start for the Pirates organization, and continuing his jack-of-all-trades status at the club, appeared at five different positions in his first 10 games (RF, CF, LF, 2B & 3B). When Mackowiak registered just one hit in 21 at bats (.048) before being optioned to AAA Nashville on June 8. Mackowiak was recalled by Pittsburgh on August 19, and proceeded to post a career-high four hits in his return to the Bucs on August 20, in St. Louis. Mackowiak bested his career highs in the 2004 season in all of his offensive categories, and also marked his third straight year on the Pirates Opening Day roster. In a memorable occurrence for many, Mackowiak hit a walkoff grand slam against Joe Borowski to win the first of a doubleheader against Chicago, approximately nine hours after Mackowiak received news of the birth of his son, Garret; in the second game, he hit a game-tying home run in the 9th inning.
As of the end of the 2005 season, Mackowiak had a .258 batting average with 52 home runs after 593 games over the course of 5 seasons.
Mackowiak has been known for starting the season quickly, then fading as the year progressed. A solid contributor as a utility man, his biggest problem has been a tendency to strike out. Pirates fans note that "you can't spell Mackowiak without two K's."
Mackowiak has had some off-the-field troubles, including a DUI citation in 2003 when he drove the wrong way down a one-way street.