Young: How Dennis Eckersley beat the bottle and rode his rebound into Cooperstown

From SABR member Geoff Young at Crooked Scoreboard on June 29, 2017:

The path to greatness doesn’t normally include a stop at rock bottom. Then again, no two journeys are the same and nobody ever accused Dennis Eckersley of being normal.

He threw a no-hitter at age 22 and won 20 games at age 23. At age 31 he found himself in rehab and facing an uncertain future. Traded to the Oakland A’s for fringe minor-leaguers, he took a leap of faith and reinvented himself—with help from those who believed in him—as one of baseball’s most dominant closers, using his fear of failure as motivation for a Hall of Fame career.

But was it fear itself that propelled Eckersley to such great heights? Or was it his willingness and ability to overcome that fear? As Dr. Lissa Rankin notes in The Fear Cure, “Courage is not about being fearless; it’s about letting fear transform you so you come into right relationship with uncertainty, make peace with impermanence, and wake up to who you really are.”

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Originally published: June 29, 2017. Last Updated: June 29, 2017.