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Eric Hillman
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Memories of
Eric Hillman
Eric Hillman
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 254 of 1043 players
John Eric Hillman
Born: April 27, 1966 at Gary, Ind.
Throws: Left Bats: Left
Height: 6.10 Weight: 225

Eric Hillman was the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup on February 19, 2004, June 18, 2007, November 18, 2007, April 27, 2008, April 27, 2016, and August 22, 2016.


First Mets game: May 18, 1992
Last Mets game: May 30, 1994

Share your memories of Eric Hillman


As tall as Randy Johnson, but unlike the Big Unit, his fastball couldn't break a pane of glass. Wound up in Japan; I don't know if he's still playing.

Absolutely awful. 6'10" with an 83 mph fastball. Combined with Schourek to make up the worst 1-2 lefthanded combination in baseball.

February 25, 2001
"control artist" could not pitch to save his life.

May 23, 2001
awful. absolutely awful. I remember from an old Mets yearbook they were touting him as a prospect, and mentioned that he was 6'10 or 6'11. unfortunately for the Mets, while he had randy johnson's height, he had jason jacome's fastball.

August 24, 2001
While all the messages I have read here are negative I have something positive to say about eric. He is one of the nicest guys I have ever met he was like a big brother to me he would do anything for just about anybody he was very funny and outgoing and I cherish all the good times I had with him. While he may not have been a good pitcher he is a good person.

Eric Hillman
December 24, 2001
Hey I'm sorry so many of you think I was such an awful pitcher. I had a wonderful time in New york and I never turned down an autograph request. Hey, one guy cant' be responsible for a disasterous team. I was lucky to play for a very classy team in the greatest city in the world. If its' so easy, why are'nt you all in the starting rotation?

December 27, 2001
I don't know if the previous post was the real Eric Hillman or not, but what I do know is that Dallas Green was no asset to this mans career. Fortunately, he was able to make some money pitching in Japan.

And to extrapolate upon the previous poster's comments, I'd rather be able to say that I had a crappy, albeit brief, career in the bigs, than be a world class widget (you fill in the blank) salesman.

January 9, 2002
I saw this guy pitch once, Wow, he had no stuff. I'm convinced he made it to the majors because scouts thought his 6'10 height would be intimidating or something.

January 12, 2002
I saw Eric pitch once or twice and his fastball may have been average, but his curve was awsome. He had other talents that most people did'nt know. He could suck air up..... Nevermind, I forgot where I was. Anyway Eric was and still is a class act and if you ever met him you were lucky! Look me up in Chi if you see this this post.

January 29, 2002
I remember Eric pitching for some bad Mets teams and thanx to Vince Coleman's Grucci imatation his shutout against the Dodgers is easy to miss.

I had the pleasure of getting to know him at dream week 2002 and can honestly say he is a great guy!!!!! He was funny, helpful and just an all around pleasure to be around. Now if only I could throw that curve!

If all players were 1/2 as classy as this guy... the sport would be in far better shape than it is.

Just sign me up as one of Eric's top fans!!!!!!

rich edwards
March 14, 2002
When one of my boys was 8, Eric Hillman was his first autograph. He was standing by the dugout railing and I'm sure my son was intimidated, but Eric motioned for him to come on down. Very nice gesture. Eric if you ever get to reading this again, thanks from my son.

Eric Hillman
March 15, 2002
Thank You Rich. I now have 2 young boys of my own and would give anything for them to be able to see me play.

Joe Figliola
March 20, 2002
The two memories I hold best about Eric Hillman are his debut against the Pirates on a rainy night at Shea (in which Tom Seaver Night was practically aborted) and a 1994 game against the Giants. Eric pitched eight innings of great baseball and we were torqued off because he didn't finish the game. The Mets won either 2-0 or 2-1.

Two years later, Eric brushed back Barry Bonds on a Sunday afternoon game against the Giants. Barry mouthed off at the big guy, but Eric did not back down. It just goes to show that height (6 feet 10 inches of it, anyway) makes might!

Kid Green
March 21, 2002
I had the great pleasure of meeting Eric. He is the nicest person I've ever met. Good, bad or indifferent, he still played in the majors. Most of you would sell your souls to have one moment in the bigs. I am glad I had the chance to get to know him. He encapsulates what is good about the game and brings out the best in people that are around him.

June 13, 2002
I met Eric in a club in New Hyde Park. Real nice guy, let me chew his ear off for a while. It is a shame he didn't have "Big Unit" stuff to go with his "Big Unit" height. I wish I had asked for his autograph.

Jonathan Stern
November 10, 2002
How cool is it that the guy not only reads this website, but also responds to it! In fact, check out his comments on Hojo. Eric wasn't Cy Young. Heck, he may not have been Anthony Young... well, at least he didn't lose 27 games in a row. But, if I am correct, I saw him in his major league debut at Shea. During the dismal 1992 season, I think. After eight innings (who today pitches that many innings in one game?) he led 2- 0. When Jeff Torborg sent Chico Walker up to pinch-hit for him, we playfully booed (we were not yet truly fed up with Torborg at the time). It was late in a bad year, but we all appreciated how well Eric pitched that day. I hoped he would have a better career, but his comments in the paper were funny, and he apparently did a good Elvis impersonation. Guys like Eric sometimes make the game more entertaining than the superstars. Thanks, Eric. I'd rather be you than whatever it is I'll ever be!

David Block
January 25, 2003
I just came back from Mets fantasy camp this year. I bat lefty and had a chance to try to hit against Eric. For those of you who think he wasn't a good pitcher, you should try to hit against him some time! Against the other campers I had 15 AB's and only swung and missed 3 times, but Hillman struck me out.

I couldn't agree more with most of the comments that he is a super nice guy. It was a pleasure having him in camp.

February 3, 2003
As his mother, Eric is a joy and gave the whole family many wonderful memories on and off the baseball field.

Peter Kleinhans
April 1, 2003
Hillman was actually my favorite Met in 1994; actually the last player I can remember really rooting for. Now- take that with a grain of salt because I've always had unusual heroes... my other favorite Mets alltime are Wayne Twitchell and Pete Falcone- doubt any of these three topped anyone else's lists. I always thought he had incredible control and great off-speed stuff but that he'd get unnerved under certain situations. I remember a couple games at the start of 1994 where I thought he was going to have a tremendous season. He'd have a shutout going through five and look untouchable, and then something would go wrong and the next thing you knew, five runs were in. I know he didn't have the world's greatest fastball, but I think that if he'd ever gotten into a groove and notched three wins in a row, he would have become more confident and have had a good season that year.

April 11, 2003
I turned on the TV back in 1992 to catch any old ballgame I could find and found the Mets beating the Pirates 2-0 in the 8th inning. As I was settling in to watch the end of the game, Met fans started booing the decision to remove their pitcher for a pinch hitter. What I then realized is that the pitcher being taken down was pitching a shut out in his first big league game. To my surprise, the rookie pitcher exiting the game was the tall, lanky kid with whom I played little league and high school ball - Eric Hillman.

Given some of the prior postings, it's just too easy to rip someone from afar. But unless you know the person or have stood in their shoes, you've got little room to talk. Eric might not have had a stellar MLB career, but who among us has?

Eric is one of the funniest guys you can be around and would always keep his teammates loose (especially around the indoor batting cages when sharing the fieldhouse with the track team!). For all of us who played ball with him from the age of 10 on into high school, I'd say we share a sense of pride that one of us made the bigs.

Brian Heffron
June 18, 2003
I met Mr. Hillman when he was pitching for the then Tidewater Tides. As a Met fan and a kid from Scranton, PA, I never missed a Tides Series against the Red Barons. One late June night, the Barons kept tying the game again and again and again in the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the 11th, we went down to the Tides bullpen where we had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Hillman. He stood there and talked to 2 sophomores in high school about all of their heroes for as long as we wanted, until the bottom of the 16th or 17th when Todd Pratt hit a walk off dinger for Scranton to win it. Hillman was one of the classiest, kindest, nicest athletes that I ever had the pleasure of meeting. He went out of his way to be kind and nice to us. I had the opportunity to work with an NFL team for a year, and met hundreds of athletes, and NONE, I mean NONE, came close to the classiness of Eric. Best of luck to him in whatever he is doing.

Rob D. from Jersey City
June 23, 2003
I think I once heard Mike Francesa say; "Dog, I don't know about you but there's something that irks me about a guy who's 6'10" and throws 75 m.p.h. fastballs". Once gave up a moonshot to Barry Bonds and, after sulking on the mound instead of staring him down, throws at him the next time up with his "heater" and hits him on the wrist. It was downright hilarious. But how he managed to last as long as he did during the reign of that idiot Dallas Green and his psuedo drill-sargent managerial style is an achievement in itself. Girl I was dating at the time had a HUGE crush on him. Judging from his previous posts, he seems like a nice enough dude. But maybe a little too nice!

Phil Thiegou
August 29, 2003
Unfortunately Eric Hillman's only contribution to major league baseball was plunking Barry Bonds in the elbow on 5/4/94 thus causing Bonds to wear that big ass elbow pad. So every time Bonds is intentionally walked, we have to thank Eric for the Giants games that take an extra minute or two so Barry can take off his ''elbow armor''. 0n a lighter note after a game in Philly a few weeks later, while waiting for the players to board the team bus, Eric was the only one to sign autographs for fans. Even a shlub like Mauro Gozzo totally ignored us.

June 14, 2004
Fortunately for me I knew Eric back in jr. high and h.s. and I followed his baseball career in the early stages. He was, and I am sure, still a good person. He had a heart of gold, when he wanted it to be, but he also had a "big" head at times. If he is in Japan or where ever with his family-CONGRATULATIONS!!

July 13, 2004
I am amazed to see that an actual New York Met posted to the page about him.

Eric, that took a lot of guts to face the criticism, and I admire you for taking it with grace. My suggestion to you to answer people who trash your baseball career is to read Theodore Roosevelt's great quote about the man in the arena being the one who deserves the credit...and that you have achieved something that millions of Americans dream of, but can never have for their own...an entry in the Baseball Encyclopedia. You are forever part of the game, just like Ruth, Aaron, Clemente, Spahn, and Mathewson.

October 10, 2004
I remember Eric enjoying a brief burst of success after seeing one of those sports psychologists who helped him "visualize his goals" or some such placebo effect. It couldn't have been more than a few starts, though, judging by his win total.

April 17, 2005
My recollections of Eric Hillman come from his times at the Chiba Lotte Marines, a Japanese professional team in 1995 and 1996. I am also a Met fan, but never had a chance to see him pitch as a Met, as I was living outside the US then.

Unlike with his times with the Mets, he did have success pitching for the Marines, winning 26 games in the two year period. I attended many Marines games then, and saw Eric Hillman giving gutsy performances but not receiving much run supports, and he must have lost something like five 1-0 games in a season. In one of those games, I would be sitting in a bleacher seat, see Eric Hillman come off the mound trailing by one run, looking absolutely calm until he was about to enter into a runway throwing some water cooler from top of his head and disappear into the clubhouse. Even from 400 feet away from bleacher seats, it was easy to recoginze who the angry 6'10" was, as we never see any 6'10" in Japan. I also remember he fared quite well against Ichiro Suzuki, an Orix BlueWave player then, which was a rather rare case as Suzuki was already destroying the league then.

Eric left the Marines after the 1996 season for the Yomiuri Giants, the Evil Empire of Japan, signed a big contract with them but got injured and only got to pitch some 2-3 games for them. I remember how press in Japan were ripping him for "malingering".

Anyway, I wish he never had left the Marines.

April 17, 2005
I remember watching this guy and thinking to myself...How could someone 9 feet tall not be able to throw in the mid 90's?

I saw one of his starts in '94 against the Dodgers.

April 27, 2005
I had lunch with Eric the other day. He's really a great guy. Down to earth, kinda goofy, and a hottie ta-boot! I've read all of these comments. As far as the dissing goes, I'll say this. Those who hide behind a computer screen to slam someone else are jealous, and insecure about themselves.

Jonathan Stern
April 29, 2005
If someone was not a great major leaguer, the numbers don't lie. I have a rule that I do not say anything demeaning about a ballplayer as a person unless he behaved on some level in a socially reprehensible level. Looking around the website, I know I have not always been able to adhere to that rule. That said, I think I'm speaking for everyone here when I say that it is better to be a failed major leaguer than most anything else. I know I wish I was Eric Hillman.

But part of going on the field is knowing that you can fail and accepting it when you do. I would argue that it is far more heroic and admirable to be Bill Buckner, Kenny Rogers or Mel Rojas than it is to settle for being a spectator, in sports and in life. But part of being heroic in those types of cases is weathering the ridicule that will be headed your way. It ain't easy. I wouldn't like it either. But it must be done.

A guy like Hillman can have an unremarkable career yet still find a place in a fan's heart. He found one in mine, as I stated above. He was one of my favorite early-90's Mets. Certainly, he and his career do not justify someone saying anti-social things to or about him. But I would think he understands that whereas people who do that are small, those who merely speak the truth - he was no Tom Seaver - are, indeed, speaking the truth, no more, no less.

September 24, 2005
I played against Eric in Little League. We called him Dr. K. He was fantastic. He had heat back then. But mainly a nasty curve.

He was named player of the year in Japan.

Eric I discovered grew up in the same two towns as me, Gary, In. and Flossmoor, Il. Hope to meet him again some day to talk about this.

He seemed real nice and had no ego.

Hope he stashed some dough in the bank.

October 13, 2005
I don't care how hard you can throw a pitch! 2-9 with the '93 Mets is very misleading. Eric had an ERA under 4 with that team, so something's amiss! I, like several others give blame to Dallas Green! I'm not saying Eric could have been the next Glavine, but it seems they were quick to cut ties with him! What surprises me is that the Mets stunk big-time then! What was the hurry? We didn't have too many other pitchers who were better than him! Hope he's well.

Derek Nielsen
February 2, 2007
I had the opportunity to ride back from Orlando this past week with Eric. While I know nothing about his baseball ability, he is a great guy and I'm glad to have met him. I look forward to taking my little guys to a local pro game for his pre and post game show.

April 16, 2007
I would have never looked on this website but the Mets are playing in Philly today and I was telling my daughter (who is going to the game tonight) about meeting Eric at a local clothing store in the Gallery. He and a bunch of guys from the team where doing some shopping at the store I worked at called Attivo. Eric was a complete gentleman and very respectful. He always left tickets for me when they played in Philly. Not sure where Eric's career led him but being a nice person is what I remember...

April 21, 2007
Nobody ever said that the guy is a bad person. He sounds like a super nice guy (one's character is always important) . Unfortunately, he was not a good pitcher. His lifetime mark (4-14) is awful. His talent, while obviously superior to most of the people accessing this website, was simply not major league quality (which is why he went to Japan in the first place). Give the guy credit for making the major leagues; but let's not pretend that he was any good.

Catherine K.
May 28, 2007
Well, where to begin... I have been a video editor at FSN Rocky Mountain for almost two years now and have seen many so called 'analysts' come and go. Not only is Eric an experienced and knowledgeable commentator, but an extremely genuine and sincere person. He makes my job not only easier, but much more enjoyable and, to be honest with you, a pleasure. (Which most can't say about their job.) I have also had the good fortune to meet members of his family, which have only reinforced his good nature and the kind of person he really is. Most of us can easily pass judgment on those who 'did what in the majors', but when it really matters, Eric is a good person who accomplished exactly what he wished for in life - he rose above the situation he was dealt, followed his dreams, and remains to this day to be a person that not only inspires others but is just nice to be around... Kudos, baby - I wish you nothing but the best and would love to share it with you!!!

And by the way, not everybody can be a 'Randy Johnson'... 90% of us can't even consider it a dream - If they could it wouldn't be a sport now, would it?!

Howard Megdal
July 21, 2007
If Eric is reading this, I just wanted to apologize to him. I'd written a silly comment as the sponsor of his Baseball-reference.com page. Of course, the reason I sponsored him in the first place was that he was my favorite player on the early-90s Mets.

I've corrected my sponsorship page. His kids should be nothing but proud of him. And I hope that page didn't give him a moment of pause- he was a class act, and a major league pitcher!

July 21, 2007
Eric is by far the funniest man that ever played the game. He is and will always remain a class act and won the equivalent to our "Cy Young" award in Japan. Teammates of his have always thought of him as the guy they would want in the clubhouse. Eric is a family man first and a pre-game host for the Rockies second. As far as his pitching, let's see one of us hit his changeup.

Jamey Bumbalo
August 14, 2007
I think it's great that Hillman has posted to this website, and I wish he would add more comments about the Mets he played with. I'm not looking for dirt, just some interesting observations.

Eric Hillman
October 19, 2007
Since we share the same name I of course am especially interested in Eric's accomplishments in baseball. I followed his career since I first came upon his name in a small newspaper transaction column. (I believe it was when he was first added to the Mets 40-man roster.) I knew he had gone to pitch in Japan after the '94 strike and enjoyed a few good seasons there playing on the Yomiuri Giants with such future Major Leaguers as Hideki Matsui and Hideki Okajima.

I lost track of him after that until early 2001 when I came across his name in a baseball address book. I decided to take a chance and send a couple of cards to get signed and imagine my delight when a couple weeks later he not only sent my cards back signed but took the time to write me a personal two-page letter letting me know what was going on in his life.

Eric, I never had the opportunity to thank you properly for writing and I could tell by your letter how much you loved baseball and how much you were going to miss it after your rotator cuff surgeries. I was so glad to hear that you got a job with the Rockies and am really hoping that my Red Sox can come back against the Indians so I might get get a chance to look you up if the Rockies come to Boston for the World Series.

In either case, best wishes to you and your family and Good luck in the World Series! (The Other) Eric Hillman

D Harrelson
October 27, 2007
My son was ringbearer at Eric's first wedding. We lost contact with him while he played with Chiba Lotte and would love to catch up. anyone with his e- mail address please forward it to us.

He was great to our kids both in Norfolk and with the Mets and we have many memories of the times we spent with him, his teammates, and his family.

Don, Sandy, Sam, and Mary Austin Virginia Beach

Eric Marks
December 22, 2007
I remember going to Del Campo High in the Sacramento area and coming across his 1994 Topps card. On the back it said he lived in the same city I did, Citrus Heights. I had seen him on TV pitching for the Mets and always wanted to get that card signed by him; we on our baseball team always followed the local boys.

Eric, if you're reading this, thanks for giving us ball players hope. I'd love to hear from you some time.

February 12, 2008
I met Eric Hillman at Mets Fantasy Camp this January. One of the funniest people I have ever met. Missed his true calling as a stand-up comedian. Currently doing Rockies pre- and post-game show.

Zach Gerum
October 28, 2008
I was lucky enough to have Hillman as a coach at my high school in Colorado. Standup guy and anyone who doesn't respect a man who pitched in major league baseball is clearly compensating for their lesser forthcomings. Plus the man was married to a Broncos cheerleader last time I checked so get on his level.

Ed Schultz
March 3, 2010
Wow!! I met Eric while he was back in Chicago with his wife. His high school retired his jersey. The previous posts were right on: Hands down the funniest guy I have ever met! Fast and witty. He had the whole group rolling with laughter. I almost choked on my drink. We talked a little bit about baseball and he was truly humbled to play a game that he had played his whole life. I was talking about him being a professional athlete. He said, "I wasn't an athlete but I played with a bunch." He had great success in Japan but he downplayed his whole career. Baseball, and sports in general, could use more guys like him. Thanks Eric.

Travis Dowdy
September 27, 2010
I read above comments from Eric Hillman, and I have to disagree with one thing: I was rejected an autograph request when he played with the Tidewater Tides. I was a senior in high school and showed up for games as soon as the gates opened and stayed until the last player left the gates. I always was there to get autographs of the players for my collection. I never sold them, but kept them for myself other than when I had friends who wanted them, then I gave them one. I went up to Eric after one game when he was leaving the stadium and was brushed off in a way that made me feel inferior. I never liked him after that. I don't know if he felt I was trying to get it for money or what, but it was really a slap in my face for him to walk right by me as I had a baseball card and a pen in my hand and asked politely for him to sign and he didn't even acknowledge my presence.

November 6, 2015
Eric Hillman is "great" man! He is charming, quick witted, and fun to be around plus an extremely talented baseball pitcher! It's so unfortunate and downright presumptuous that people who post these negative comments think it's acceptable. Ripping someone else down doesn't built you up - all it reflects is jealousy. So sad! And I'm not "biased" because he's married to my niece Heather. I simply don't appreciate rude people! Love ya Eric.

Mark Tartaglione
April 9, 2017
I was at Mets Fantasy Camp in January 2017, and Eric Hillman was one of the Coaches there. He is a great guy, and did a wonderful job as the Camp MC. He was very gracious, and took the time to take a pic with me.

Eric M
October 9, 2017
Actually he lived in Citrus Heights where I grew up. I collected his cards and sadly, never had any signed. If you read this, Eric, my address is eric.marks@mail.com

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