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Eric Young Jr.

Sport: Baseball

Born: May 25, 1985

Town: Piscataway

Eric Orlando Young Jr. was born May 25, 1985 in New Brunswick. His father, Eric, was a senior at New Brunswick High School—the star of the baseball and football teams. His mother, Paula Robinson, shared custody and raised Eric Jr. separately. Eric Sr. attended Rutgers and was drafted by the Dodgers in 1989, when Eric Jr. was 4 years old.

Eric grew up in Piscataway and spent summers working as a batboy for his dad’s teams, including the Dodgers, Cubs and Rockies. As a teenager, he attended Piscataway High, where he followed in his father’s footsteps as a diamond star at second base and as a running back. Eric was a bit heavier and taller than his dad. He received a football scholarship offer from Villanova, but turned it down to play baseball.

Eric played one year for Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Chandler, Arizona and then signed with the Colorado Rockies, who sent him to Casper, Wyoming for the 2004 season. He worked his way to the majors in five years, logging seasons of 58, 73 and 87 stolen bases along the way.

Eric yo-yo’d between Colorado and AAA Colorado Springs for several years before establishing himself as a full-time utility player, capable of handling all three outfield positions as well as second base. A poor on-base record prevented him from winning a regular starting spot.

Eric began the 2013 season with the Rockies. In mid-June, he was traded to the Mets for pitcher Colin McHugh and became the team’s everyday leftfielder. Eric had always been an efficient base stealer, but with regular time, he became the league’s stolen base champion with 46. He also finished among the league leaders with 7 triples. Eric showed exceptional range in spacious CitiField, and nailed a dozen runners in his first 130 games as a Met. In 2014, Eric—a switch-hitter—platooned with right-handed Chris Young to start the season and later, after Young was waived, with Matt Den Dekker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Eric batted a meager .229, but led the club with 30 stolen bases.

Following the 2014 campaign, the Mets decided not to offer Eric a new contract. He signed with the Atlanta Braves and won the starting left field job in Spring Training. He batted just .169 , however, and the Braves sold him to the Mets in August. Eric only appeared in 18 games for New York and was not on the team’s postseason roster. New York released him after the season and he signed a minor-league contract with the Brewers.

 

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