Born: September 9, 1970
Daniel Miceli was born September 9, 1970 in Newark. The family moved to Orlando, Florida when Dan was a boy, and he and older brother Richard were both standouts in the local youth sports leagues. Dan had a powerful right arm that earned him a starring role on the Dr. Phillips High Panthers varsity baseball squad. When Dan was a senior, two of the young players on the team were Johnny Damon and Brian Barber, both of whom followed Dan into the majors.
Unlike these two, Dan was not drafted. He tried out for the Kansas City Royals and earned a minor league contract in the spring of 1990. He struggled to control his low-90s fastball at first, but by 1992 he had full command of this pitch, plus enough of a breaking ball to keep batters off-balance. After that season, the Royals traded Dan and Jon Lieber to the Pirates for closer Stan Belinda.
Dan made his major league debut on his 23nd birthday, in 1993. He split the 1994 season between Pittsburgh and Class-AAA Buffalo and made the big club for good in 1995. By May of that year he was the team’s closer, and he went on to save 21 games. In 1996, Dan was converted to a starting role at midseason. He won just one of his 9 starts before going back to the bullpen. That winter the Pirates traded Dan to Tigers.
Over the next 10 seasons, Dan pitched in the majors for 10 different clubs, including twice for the Rockies. He pitched briefly in Japan in 2005, for the Yomiuri Giants, and also spent parts of five seasons in the minors. Dan was a reliable bullpen arm, but didn’t always see eye to eye with his coaches. On at least one occasion that precipitated his departure from a team.
Dan’s best year was 1998, when he was part of the pennant-winning Padres’ bullpen. Dan won 10 games in relief that year and saved two others. In the Division Series against the Astros, he started the 9th inning of Game 2 and gave up a leadoff single in a 4–4 game. Trevor Hoffman allowed that runner to score, handing Dan the loss. In Game 3, Dan relieved Kevin Brown in the 6th inning and got out of a bases-loaded jam with the score 1–1. He then pitched a scoreless 7th and earned the win when San Diego scored in the bottom of the inning.
In 2004, Dan was an Astro and appeared in the NLCS against the Cardinals. He took the mound with the score tied in Game 2 and Game 6 and gave up the winning runs both times. Houston lost the series in seven games.
Dan’s final major league season was 2006, when he pitched in 33 games for the Tampa Bay Rays at the age of 35. He went 1–2 with 4 saves to give him 39 for his career. He pitched briefly in the minors in 2006 and 2009 before calling it a career. In all, Dan appeared in 854 games—631 in the majors and 223 in the minors.