With San Diego Padres baseball arguably as bad and uninteresting as it has ever been, the value of nostalgia rises by the day. In this vein, I found a great article posted by the Union Tribune on ex Padres and A's hurler Eric Show, entitled "He was the Padres' Mystery Man."
Show still holds the all-time record for career wins as a Padre with 100, and most baseball fans remember him for taking a seat on the mound after giving up Pete Rose's 4,192nd hit, the one that broke Ty Cobb's previous mark for career hits.
But innumerable fans and friends remember Eric for who he was off the field. A curious and often tormented personality, he defied most stereotypes of professional athletes in the 80's. The man learned to play guitar at age 5, graduated from UC Riverside with a degree in physics, participated in campaigns against Communism, was an activist in preserving whale populations, and often invited the homeless and strangers to eat with he and the team after games.
Certainly the point is not to re-hash the entire article here, but I think it does provide some insight into the changing landscape of professional sports. In today's climate of corporate sponsors, homogenized and sterile ballparks and players that learn the game largely through camps and professional instruction, guys like Eric Show have become increasingly rare. Locally, it provides some insight into Padres fans frustrations. While Eric played on some bad teams, they were a group with personality. An owner in Ray Kroc with a heart, and a manager in Dick Williams with passion and fire.
Hopefully everyone enjoys this article, as it provides an intriguing glimpse into the mind of a man that was compassionate, brilliant, and ultimately self-destructive. During the 1990's Show began to abuse cocaine and other drugs heavily, and passed away at the age of 37 in a rehab facility in Dulzura, out in east county San Diego.
Here is a clip of the obituary:
And one of his songs entitled "The Padres Win Again" (others are being transferred from vinyl and will be available on iTunes):
And of course, an Inspirational Quote...
“We have a choice – to think or not to think – and I've come to the conclusion that most of these guys don't want to think about anything but baseball, and I'm kind of ostracized for that.”