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Erik Hanson

Sport: Baseball

Born: May 18, 1965

Town: Kinnelon

Erik Brian Hanson was born May 18, 1965 in Kinnelon. He attended the Peddie School, a boarding school in Hightstown. It was only during his junior year that he started playing varsity baseball at Peddie, and even then, he only considered himself a third baseman. It wasn't until his senior year that Erik suddenly became a pitcher. He was known for having an incredible curveball and a 90 mph fastball, elevating him from an average player to a first or second-round Major League pick.

Erik decided to pursue higher education rather than sign right out of high school, and went on to attend Wake Forest University. He played three seasons for Wake and was a preseason All-American in 1986 until a teammate collided with him during batting practice and he was left with a torn knee.

The Seattle Mariners still made Erik a second-round pick that year, offering him $107,000 and the amount needed to pay for the remainder of his college education. In 1988, Erik was 12-7 for Seattle's top minor league club, and was called up to the Big Leagues. He joined the group of Seattle pitchers referred to as the "Young Guns." He posted an 18-9 record in 1990 with 211 strikeouts, which was third best in the American League. Two seasons later, he led the American League in losses at 8-17. After six seasons, the Mariners decided he was too expensive to keep and traded him to the Cincinnati Reds.

Erik joined the Boston Red Sox as a Free Agent in 1995 and had his lone All-Star season, with a 15-5 record. Boston made the playoffs and Erik started a game against the Indians, but they lost. In 1996, he joined the Toronto Blue Jays and pitched until he retired due to an injured right elbow, which needed ligament-replacement surgery.

Erik says that basketball was the game he really loved, and that baseball was something that had come out of nowhere, making it much easier for him to leave the game after 11 years. In 1999, Erik donated $365,000 toward the remodeling of the basketball courts, indoor track, and bleachers at his beloved high school, Peddie. Erik now plays as an amateur golfer, having won two regional majors, the Oregon Open and the Northwest Open.


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