|Second baseman, shortstop, third baseman|
June 28, 1970 |
Auburn, New York
|May 17, 1997 for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
Last MLB appearance
|September 22, 1998 for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
(through September 22, 1998)
|Runs batted in||35|
Kevin Michael Polcovich (born June 28, 1970) is a former American professional baseball player who was a utility infielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates in two Major League Baseball seasons during the 1990s.
Polcovich received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he played shortstop for coach Joe Arnold's Florida Gators baseball team in 1991 and 1992. He participated in the College World Series in 1991, and received All-Southeastern Conference (SEC), SEC All-Tournament, and College World Series All-Tournament honors.
Polcovich is most remembered for his key role as a member of Pittsburgh's 1997 "Freak Show" team. Prior to the season, new ownership had dismantled the team and launched one of the Pirates frequent rebuilding plans. Opening day payroll for the '97 team was $9,000,000, by far the lowest in the major leagues. Expectations were very low for the Pirates, but perhaps none were lower than for Polcovich, who actually was bagging groceries to help support himself during spring training. When the Pirates' starting shortstop was injured in May, Polcovich got his call-up to the majors and the former bag boy was now the new starting shortstop. He quickly became the anchor of the Pirates infield and helped the team compete for the NL Central Division until the final week of the season (when they were finally eliminated by ultimate division champions, the Houston Astros). Polcovich only played one more year of major league baseball, but his Rocky-like rise from nowhere to help the upstart 1997 Pirates have their most competitive year in the past two decades (as of 2012) against overwhelming odds, remains part of recent Pirate lore.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference