Saturday, December 17, 2011

#68 Eric Show

Card:  This is Show's Rookie card.  He appeared on a total of ten Topps cards.

Pic:  Show is shown in his follow through.  Interestingly, Topps used a picture of Show's delivery in eight of his ten cards.

Player: Eric Show, an 18th round pick of the Padres in 1978, worked his way up to majors in '81, pitching fifteen games in relief.  Show earned three saves, struck out 22 in 23 innings and posted a 3.13 ERA.  The 6'1" right-hander came up through the minors as a starter, but started the '82 season in San Diego's pen as a long reliever.  By the end of July, he had worked his way into the rotation and made fourteen starts on the year.  Show finished the year with a 10-6 record in 150 innings and a nifty 2.64 ERA, which help garner a few votes for Rookie of the Year.  Show was the Padres number three starter in '83 and made 33 starts and logged 200 innings.  A rough stretch at the end of the year drove his ERA to 4.17, and he won 15 and lost 12.

Show was the Padres' opening day starter in '84 and along with fellow hurlers, Tim Lollar, Ed Whitson, and Mark Thurmond helped San Diego capture the NL West.  Show went 15-9 with a 3.40 ERA during the regular season.  The Padres defeated the Cubs despite Show taking the loss in game one and struggling again in game five.  His ineffectiveness carried over to game four of the World Series as he gave up four runs before getting yanked in the third inning and taking the loss.  San Diego would lose the series in five games and Show's postseason failure would haunt the emotional 28 year-old.

Show had a successful season in '85 logging 233 inning in 35 starts with a 3.09 ERA.  On September 11th, Show gave up hit number 4,192 to Pete Rose.  There was a lengthy delay as the Reds honored the new all-time hit king, and meanwhile the free-spirited Show sat on the mound arms folded and waited.  Show was roasted by some for what was perceived as disrespect for the occasion, but those who knew him, understood that he just didn't know how to handle the situation.  Show was having a solid campaign in '86 (2.97 ERA) before his season was cut short due to an injury after 22 starts.  He bounced back in '87 with a decent year.  Although having a league average ERA of 3.84 he won only eight games to go with sixteen losses.  The season was marred by a pitch to  the face of slugger Andre Dawson's face that triggered an ugly brawl.  Show denied hitting him on purpose but the incident was another dark moment in Show's career.

Show won 16 games in '88 with a career high 234 innings and 13 complete games.  Show was slowed by a lower-back injury in '89 and made only 16 starts.  By now Show was fighting his addiction to drugs and along with his injuries, it was effecting his performance.  In 1990 Show was in and out of the rotation.  His 5.76 ERA and 1.618 WHIP indicate how far he had regressed and Show was allowed to leave via free-agency.  Show signed with the A's in '91, but he was no different in Oakland, putting up a 5.92 ERA in 51 innings.  Show was released the next spring and his MLB career was over.

Sadly, Show never overcame his drug addiction and he died while at a rehab center on 3/16/94.

Flipside:  Show also pitched a five-hit shutout on 9/3/82.

Oddball:  Show was a talented guitarist and put out this single "The Padres Win Again". 

History:  While Show's 100 career wins are the most all-time in Padres history he is usually remembered for the negatives that seemed to dog him during his career.  Show was independent thinker and a man of many interests.  A physics major in college, he was voracious reader, a jazz musician, and a member of the extreme-right John Birch Society.  Misunderstood by many during his playing days, no one really knew how to help Show.  Check out these two excellent articles that expand more on his life and the demons he fought

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