Last year is not this year, ball players, dig deep

By Bob Behre | March 23, 2022

(Chris Eickhorst, above, played professional baseball from 2002-to-2008 after a stellar career at Kean University. But things didn’t start out that well for him his freshman year at Immaculata High School. Instead of giving up, Chris decided to dig deep and fight.

Eickhorst posted this several years ago on the NJ.com baseball forum as an encouragement to ball players who have or are facing difficult times on the field. While it was meant for the first day of tryouts, we re-post it today as a reminder to those players fighting for playing time.

While baseball is a brutally difficult game in all its intricacies, it unilaterally rewards hard work and relentless pursuit of success. The high school school season begins a week from Friday, on April 1, and scrimmages are in full rage right now. It’s a perfect time to make an impression.)

Eickhorst batted .087 for the Immaculata freshman team in 1995. He could have easily given up the game at that point.

That inauspicious beginning to his career at Immaculata did not cause Eickhorst to become discouraged about the game of baseball and he certainly did not quit. Eickhorst did the opposite; he fought for meaningful innings and at bats in the game he loved.

Here is what Chris Eickhorst wrote on the NJ.com forum, addressing his thoughts to the players needing encouragement the most. He titled his insightful post “.087.”

.087

The grass is starting to get a little greener. The fields are starting to get dragged again, the lines freshly painted.

I know most of the kids out there have butterflies in their stomach right about now. And most won’t be able to sleep tonight with tomorrow being the big tryout day. Some hearts will be broken and some will have the chance to redeem themselves from last year. If you’re not nervous or excited right now, you probably should not be playing this game.

“For those kids who were cut last year and worked their butts off this winter, go out with all the confidence in the world and show your coach what you can do. When he calls the group together, be the first one there, ready to go. Dress the part. Wear your hat like a baseball player. Baseball pants are a must with a belt and, for the love of God, tuck in your shirt and do not wear skate shoes. Look sharp, PLAY SHARP!

I wanted to share this with all of those kids who had terrible years last year or got cut.

I’m not on this forum to brag, by any means, so don’t go bashing. I played four years of college baseball at Kean University, a very good baseball school. I was drafted (46th round) by Tampa Bay as a college junior and signed with the St Louis Cardinals as a college senior. And I was lucky enough to play eight years of professional baseball, meeting a ton of great people.

The point of the story is my freshman year at Immaculata High School I flat out STUNK. I played on the freshman team and batted ninth. I hit .087, Yes, that’s right, .087.

So this is for all of you kids out there who read this. If you have the passion for this game in your heart. If you have the drive that no one can hold you back. If you can turn negative comments and fuel them into a desire for success, then nothing can hold you back.

Go out there tomorrow and turn some heads of both your teammates and coaches and believe in yourself. Good luck to all and keep on working.

Chris Eickhorst

If a guy who batted .087 can do it, so can you. By the way, Eickhorst had an outstanding senior year at Kean in 2002. He batted .437 with 55 hits, scored 40 runs and drove in 45. Twenty of his 55 hits went for extra bases.

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