Born: November 4, 1967
Eric Peter Karros was born November 4, 1967 in Hackensack. The Karros family moved to the west coast when Eric was a boy. When he showed interest and aptitude in baseball, his father George agreed to coach his youth league team. George had grown up in an orphanage and tried to spend as much time with Eric and his younger brother as possible.
Eric attended Patrick Henry High School in San Diego. He was known more for his work in the classroom than on the field, but he loved baseball and stuck with it. When recruiters came to the PHHS campus, Eric’s name was not on their list. Indeed, even when Eric visited colleges as a junior and senior, he often was not granted an audience with the baseball coaches.
At UCLA, Eric and his dad “ambushed” head coach Gary Adams. He’d never heard of Eric. But after a call to some of the high school coaches he knew in San Diego, Adams made the teenager an offer—enroll at UCLA and he would not be cut before the end of fall tryouts. Eric took the deal, made the Bruins as a glorified bullpen catcher, and began to sharpen his game.
Eric came into his own as a sophomore in 1987, driving the ball with authority and racking up RBIs. He was even better as a junior, and that spring he was drafted by the Dodgers in the sixth round. Throughout Eric’s high school and college days, his father had been a fixture in the stands. As a minor leaguer, this was no longer possible, but they spoke often on the phone and George made a handful of visits.
Eric played four years in the minors, graduating one level each season until he joined LA for the September pennant run in 1991. In 1992, Eric and Todd Benzinger battled to see who would take over first base after the departure of Eddie Murray. Eric won the job, led the team in homers and RBIs, and outdistanced Moises Alou and Tim Wakefield for NL Rookie of the Year honors.
Although Eric was never an All-Star, he was a consistent run producer for the Dodgers. He topped 100 RBIs five times between 1995 and 2000. In 1995, he hit 32 homers and batted .298 as the Dodgers won the NL West. He was fifth in the MVP voting that year. In a playoff loss to the Reds, Eric was unstoppable, batting .500 with a pair of homers.
In December of 2002, the Dodgers traded Eric to the Cubs. At 35, he produced respectable numbers. After the season he became a free agent and signed with Oakland. He quit before the end of the season and went immediately into the broadcast booth for Fox Sports. His television work for ESPN and his radio show in San Diego have earned him the respect and acclaim of baseball fans across the country.