The all time leader in wins for the San Diego Padres franchise, Eric Show was a complex being who never quite fit into the baseball world. A tragic figure, he passed away on this day in 1994 while in rehab for his drug addictions.
Eric Show was, in a lot of ways, a player before his time. One of the San Diego Padres better pitchers during the 1980’s, Show holds the franchise record with exactly 100 wins during his career. Unfortunately, Show is best remembered for two unfortunate incidents instead of his relatively solid performance.
First, Show was on the mound when Pete Rose got his record breaking 4192nd hit. After saying that he did not care whether or not he gave up the hit to Rose, Show sat on the mound with his arms folded. His teammates called him out for his actions, but later realized that Show simply had no idea what to do in the moment. Then, in 1987, he hit Andre Dawson in the face with a fastball, opening a cut that required 20 stitches. The Cubs players charged the mound, and Show was removed from the game for his own safety.
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Show was an anomaly during his time in baseball. While players focused on the game exclusively, he discussed politics and economics. An accomplished guitar player, Show put out a jazz album. However, following back surgery in 1989, Show became addicted to painkillers as he attempted to deal with his back pain. That addiction would follow him for the rest of his life, up to his death in a rehab facility on this day in 1994.
His behavior became more and more concerning as he fell deeper into addiction. Show was arrested in downtown San Diego in 1991, yelling that someone was trying to kill him. He later kicked out the window of the police car and escaped on foot before being apprehended later that day. Later in Spring Training, Show appeared with bandaged hands; he had been causing a disturbance in a bookstore and tried to flee police by climbing a barbed wire fence.
Eventually, his addiction to heroin and meth, amongst other substances, led Show to rehab. He spent a month at the Rancho L’Abri Drug and Alcohol Rehab Center, checking out on March 14. The following night, Show called the facility, saying that he had used cocaine, heroin, and consumed alcohol. Allowed back into treatment, Show passed away in his bed during the night.
Eric Show was one of the better pitchers in San Diego Padres history, but that was only a part of his story. Unfortunately, he succumbed to drug and alcohol abuse, causing an end to his baseball career, and ultimately, his life.