May 19, 1956|
|Died: March 16, 1994
|September 2, 1981, for the San Diego Padres|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 30, 1991, for the Oakland Athletics|
|Earned run average||3.66|
Eric Vaughn Show (//; May 19, 1956 – March 16, 1994) was a Major League Baseball player who played for most of his career with the San Diego Padres. The pitcher holds the Padres record for most career wins, and he was a member of the first Padres team to play in the World Series. On September 11, 1985, he surrendered Pete Rose's record-breaking 4,192nd career hit. Show's later life was affected by drug abuse. He was found dead in his room at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in 1994.
Eric Show was born in Riverside, California. He attended the University of California, Riverside, where he majored in physics and played college baseball for the Highlanders from 1976–1978. In 1977, Show won a Division II College World Series with the team.
Show made his debut in late September 1981, and the following year went 10–6 while splitting time between the starting rotation and bullpen. In 1983 he won 15 games. In 1984, he followed with a 15–9 record. However, he struggled in the postseason, going a combined 0–2 with a 12.38 earned run average in three games.
On September 11, 1985, Show became famous for giving up Pete Rose's 4,192nd hit, which surpassed the all-time career hits record that had long been held by Ty Cobb. During the delay to honor Rose, Show sat on the mound with his arms folded. In The Ballplayers: Baseball's Ultimate Biographical Reference, Mike Shatzkin wrote that Show was "disgruntled (perhaps rightly so) at the lengthy interruption of the contest." Padre Garry Templeton later called Show's actions "bush." Then he got into a dugout shoving match with left fielder Carmelo Martínez over a ball that fell for a single and led to the game-winning run. Finally, Show refused to stay to answer the post-game questions, leaving his teammates to criticize him in his absence. "I'm tired of hearing about his unlucky luck," said Tim Flannery. "That's been at the root of the problem all year. If something goes wrong, he quits. That's why runs aren't scored for him. Guys don't want to play for him. One guy got tired of hearing it."
Before the game, when Show had been asked about the possibility of giving up "The Hit", he responded: "I guess it doesn't mean as much to me as it does to other baseball enthusiasts. I mean, in the eternal scope of things, how much does this matter? I don't like to say this, but I don't care. ... Don't get me wrong. I'm certainly not putting down Pete. It's a fantastic accomplishment." "Gosh, he felt so bad after that, and he didn't know how to articulate it," said teammate Dave Dravecky. "Sometimes when you're brilliant like he was, the simplest of things are the hardest of things to express." Show later offered, "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."
On July 7, 1987, Show hit the year's eventual MVP Andre Dawson in the left cheekbone with a fastball during a game. Dawson had homered in 3 of his last 5 plate appearances at that point, and the Cubs reacted with a bench-clearing brawl. Show and his manager, Larry Bowa, later denied that the pitch was purposeful, while Bowa acknowledged that he could understand why the Cubs would think it was.
Show made his last appearance on the National League leaderboard in 1988, a season in which he went 16–11 with 13 complete games and pitched 2342⁄3 innings. His effectiveness diminished significantly after that season and by 1990 he had lost his regular spot in San Diego's rotation. The Padres did not pick up his option and bought out his contract for $250,000. He signed with Oakland as a free agent the following year and was cut the following season. He also played in 1990–91 with the Mayaguez Indians of the Puerto Rican Winter League.
In 1984, he revealed that he was a member of the far-right John Birch Society. After Show gave up Rose's record-breaking hit, Graig Nettles said, "The Birch Society is going to expel Eric for making a Red famous." He was also a jazz musician.
He was once arrested by the police in downtown San Diego while yelling that someone was trying to kill him. Placed inside the police car, he kicked out the window and fled on foot. He was apprehended later that same day. Show additionally showed up at the Oakland A's training camp with bandaged hands after police had pursued him on another occasion after reports were made of his acting oddly inside an adult bookstore.
After his retirement from baseball, Show fell victim to drug abuse. After a month-long stay at a drug rehabilitation center in Dulzura, California, Show checked out of the facility on March 14. He called the center the next night, admitted to having used alcohol, heroin, and cocaine, and asked to come back for more treatment. He was found dead in his room at the treatment center on the morning of March 16. He was buried at Olivewood Cemetery in Riverside.
- Schrotenboer, Brent (May 18, 2008). "Mystery man". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on December 16, 2011.
- "University of California, Riverside Baseball Players Who Made it to the Major Leagues". Baseball-Almanac.com. Archived from the original on December 18, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- "Eric Show". GoHighlanders.com. UC Riverside Sports Information. Archived from the original on December 18, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- Shatzkin, Mike (1990). The Ballplayers: Baseball's Ultimate Biographical Reference. Arbor House Pub Co. p. 999. ISBN 0-87795-984-6.
- "Inside Pitch Statistics Through Sept. 15". CNN. September 23, 1985. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- Seven Ejected in Beanball Exchange. The New York Times. July 8, 1987. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
- Kernan, Kevin (October 12, 1990). "Clark insists he can play with Gwynn 'We're both pros,' says conciliatory 'bad guys'". The San Diego Union.
The Padres did not pick up the option on Show's contract, electing instead to buy out the contract of the club's all-time winningest pitcher for $250,000
- Berkow, Ira (March 27, 1994). "Eric Show's Solitary Life, and Death". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
- Rules of Abuse. The San Diego Union-Tribune. May 24, 2008.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
- An account of the game that featured a bench-clearing brawl after Show hit Dawson with a pitch
- "All's Right With His World", Sports Illustrated. August 6, 1984.
- Frank Russo (April 1, 2003). "Eric Vaughn Show". Baseball player. Find a Grave. Retrieved July 1, 2011.