Boy, here's a baseball player with some major ups and downs not only on the diamond but off it, as well.....really dramatic stuff. Some of this was new to me, so I'm grateful to this show for providing a very interesting half hour on "The Eck." Most fans know he threw the baseball with that wild right-handed sidearm delivery, and that he gave up a famous home run to pinch hitter Kirk Gibson in the 1988 World Series. What he also did was give up a similarly important and dramatic home run in another player game, to Sandy Alomar.
What helped make these so memorable was that Eckersley was so good. It was shocking when anyone got a big hit off him, or any hit, for that matter! The guy could flat-out pitch both as a starter in the first half of his career with Cleveland Boston, and then a closer in the second half (after it appeared he was washed up after sub-pars and a serious battle with alcoholism) with Oakland. At the end of the day, "Eck" had amazing numbers and was a first-ballot of Hall-of-Famer, which ain't bad.
His battles with the drink, the enemies he made on the field, and the story of his older brother are pretty amazing, especially the latter. Another odd thing in his life is what happened to his first wife. I'm telling ya, this man has led a crazy life with a lot of extreme highs and lows. Through it all, he continue on happy to be in baseball. Last year, he filled in quite a bit for the ailing Jerry Remy as color man for the Boston Red Sox games. Not a bad gig, and he really well.
Eckersley might be a vain guy, but he's articulate, funny and always interesting. And, as pointed out in this show, underneath it all that cockiness masked a lot of insecurity. "Many times I scared to death to fail, just a nervous wreck." Whether he appears cool & confident or a "wreck," Eck was fun to watch and is fun to hear.
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