This week in Catching Up with the Bucks, we are taking a look back at former Buck Steve Hecker. He was a right-handed pitcher who attended Illinois State University while playing for the Bucks. He was originally from Chicago, Illinois.
Hecker played for the Bucks in the 1999-2000 seasons. He finished his time with the Bucks with a 3-3 record in 54 appearances, none as a starter. Those 54 games are second most all-time for Bucks pitchers. The righty posted 13 saves in 1999 and 11 more in 2000, both marks which are in the top 10 in the Bucks single season history. His career 24 saves mark in first all-time in Bucks history. As the Bucks closer, Hecker had a 3.15 ERA. He threw 60 innings and in those, he had 54 strikeouts and 32 walks. In all his time as a Buck, Hecker gave up just one home run and hit just two batters.
After his time with the Bucks and in college, the former redbird signed as an undrafted free agent with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2001. Hecker started in A- Auburn, pitching again in a relief role. He went 35.1 innings and posted a 3.06 ERA. He also amassed 37 strikeouts, good for an average of 9.42 strikeouts per nine innings.
This got Hecker promoted to single A Charleston. Here, he made 19 appearances and threw 40.1 innings with another solid ERA of 3.12. This got him promoted once again to A+ Dunedin, where he went 5-0 in 19 relief appearances. Though he had a solid record, his ERA did move up to 5.45 and his strikeout to walk ratio was his lowest at 1.17. This 2002 season was Hecker’s last with the Blue Jays.
In 2003, the righty went on to play in the independent Northern League for the Joliet Jackhammers, based out of his home state of Illinois. Hecker pitched two seasons here with a 4.32 ERA in 196 innings. For the first time in a while, Hecker transitioned to a starting role, starting 19 games in 2004. After 2004, Hecker called it an end to his baseball career.
Steve Hecker will be remembered as perhaps the top Bucks closer of all-time. We wish him the best in all that he does in the future.