CHICAGO (WANE) – Wrigley Field is known for its sprawling ivy, its historic charm, and its perfectly manicured ball diamond. For Fort Wayne native Dan Kiermaier, he’s happy to call that hallowed field his office.
As “Groundskeeper One” at Wrigley, it is part of Kiermaier’s job to keep fans visiting Waveland and Sheffield in awe of their surroundings.
Kiermaier says he first visited Wrigley as a 10-year old in 1998 when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were in the midst of their historic home run race. He fell in love with the ballpark then and now considers it a dream to work there every day.
Kiermaier’s passion for baseball field management was stoked by an internship he had on Staten Island with a short-season pro baseball team. After graduating from Purdue’s turf science program, Kiermaier took a post-graduate internship at the University of Michigan. There he worked on the school’s baseball and softball diamonds as well as their football practice fields. That experience led to a job at Camelback Ranch in Arizona, the spring training home of the White Sox and Dodgers. That job helped him land the head groundskeeper position for Cincinnati Reds Urban Youth Academy, running a brand new facility. Following his time with the Reds he had job offers from the Dodgers and Cubs at the same time and opted for the Chicago due to his love for Wrigley Field.
The 27-year old Kiermaier is in his second season at Wrigley, but he’s not the only Kiermaier in the big leagues. His younger brother, Kevin, debuted for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013 and has become a fixture in their outfield – that includes winning the American League Gold Glove for center field in 2015.
Dan, a Bishop Luers graduate, says his ultimate dream is to one day be a head groundskeeper for a MLB team.