Fifteen factoids about Phillies' Eaton
Ex-Phils draft pick adept at stolen bases, not opening DVDs
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Adam Eaton returned to Philadelphia this winter after signing a three-year, $24.5 million deal. In April, he'll make his first regular-season start with the team that originally selected him in the first round of the 1996 First-Year Player Draft.Here are 15 things to know about the lanky right-hander. 1. Born in Seattle on Nov. 23, 1977, Eaton has 54 career wins, and needs 85 more to pass Todd Stottlemyre as the winningest pitcher from the state of Washington. 2. He lives in the Snohomish River Valley in a cabin in the mountains. During his free time, he fly fishes and occasionally goes snowmobiling, when there's actually snow. He lives near Roslyn, where the television show "Northern Exposure" was filmed. "It was supposed to be Cicely, Alaska. K-Bear [radio station KBHR], the bar, Joel Fleischman's house, all those things are there. It's cool. Of course, I watched it back in the day. Everyone thought Janine Turner was good looking, but that was yesteryear. They have plaques and stuff to mark [the locations]. Everybody in the town has a metal roof now. Because of the hassles of filming there, as payment to the city or the residents, they gave everybody nice metal roofs. With all the snow, it works out well for everybody. 3. He was drafted by the Phillies in the first round in 1996, and in 1999 won the Paul Owens Award as the Phils' Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Where is the award now? "I have it still, somewhere. It's in a box with other baseball stuff. I have a cabin, so all those things are under a bed or in a closet somewhere. I need a house to put them in. I need to find it." 4. Eaton played in the Maryland Fall League. "The inaugural and middle seasons. The weather wasn't good for working on things. The last couple of games, guys were building fires to keep warm. There was Chinese food that I remember, great General Tsao's chicken." 5. The most striking thing about his Major League debut on May 30, 2000, was hearing "Hells Bells" (Padres closer Trevor Hoffman's entrance music) for the first time. "It was the first time I got to hear that. I remember sitting in the dugout and, all of a sudden, BONG! It was cool. I had chills. Being able to win that game was pretty cool." 6. After that was a bit of a problem. Hoffman blew three games in which Eaton left with a lead. "After the third one, we were talking in Cincinnati, and he said, 'You know what? Just so you know, I really do like you.' I understood. Obviously, I knew he was trying. I had quite a few games that year." 7. In a freak accident, Eaton stabbed himself in the abdomen while opening a DVD package in 2001 and was scratched from his start the next day. "Yeah, I stabbed myself. At Christmas, my grandfather gave me a pocket knife with a two-inch blade. It was the first time I used it. [The package] was tough to go through, then, all of a sudden, it went through like butter. A two-inch blade only went in halfway, so I was pretty quick. You have to have a little fat, too [points to his belly], or I could've really hurt myself." 8. The DVDs in the package were "Backdraft" and "Happy Gilmore."
I won the Sports Illustrated Award for dumbest injury of the year. I didn't get anything for it, just more recognition for being dumb. I'm so proud. The funniest thing was at the ER, the guy was like, 'Did you do this on purpose?' Now, anytime I'm around a family member with a knife, usually somebody says, 'Do you want me to do that for you?'
9. He recorded his first Major League hit (a double) and home run off Jeff D'Amico."I don't know him from anything, even now. I just got lucky. He struck me out the first time, had two strikes on me the second time. I knew he was going to go with a curveball, and I hit it down the line for a double and an RBI. I remember standing on second base going, 'I hit that ball.' The home run, I was surprised it went out. It was at Qualcomm at night, where the ball doesn't travel that well to left-center. I swung at the first pitch, and it went out. Who knew? 10. He is 5-for-5 in stolen bases, making him second among active pitchers. Greg Maddux is first with six. "Anytime you want to learn about 100 percent ratio, come to me. I hope to get at least one more and tie him, assuming he doesn't add to his lead. I'm younger, so I have that working for me. I'm sure he's better at golf than me." 11. In his first start for Double-A Norwich in 1999, he threw a no-hitter and lost. "Doesn't everybody? The lesson here is don't walk the first guy of the inning, have him steal a base, get bunted over and score on a sacrifice fly or ground ball. It was eight innings [because it was a road game], and maybe they would've gotten a hit in the ninth inning. 12. In 2000, Eaton led the NL with a 2.34 ERA in daytime start. "That's kind of crazy, because I like my sleep. I remember looking back and thinking, how is this happening? For whatever reason, it worked out that way. I wish I could still do that. I'd list sleep as a hobby if I could, though I don't like to take naps, and I also don't like to go to sleep. It's weird. Sometimes I'll go to bed at 9 p.m. so I can get more sleep, but I'll stay up until 2 a.m. It's baseball-related, too, especially out here, because there are a lot of sports that are on later. 13. He once got thrown out of a game for hitting Albert Pujols with a 67-mph curveball. "Yeah [laughs and shakes his head], I hit him with a curve. Bo Hart was leading off the inning and Jim Edmonds was hitting second. Hart I ended up getting him out, but I almost hit him with two curveballs, then I struck out Edmonds. The night before, Pujols hit a walk-off homer, so they already decided what they were going to do. The first pitch to Pujols, I thought I'd stay soft and come in late. I threw it and hit him in the arm. That was it. I looked around, like, you're throwing me out? We went back and forth. I was yelling, 'I hit him with a curveball! If I'm going to hit somebody, I'm going to hit them as hard as I can with a fastball. If I can hit them with a curveball, I'm pretty darn good. I'm not that good. 14. He wears No. 23 with the Phillies. Ryan Franklin wore that number last season. More notable 23s include Don Mattingly, Ryne Sandberg and Michael Jordan. 15. He was selected 11th overall in 1996. Other Major League pitchers taken in that round: Kris Benson, Braden Looper, John Patterson, Eric Milton, Jake Westbrook, Gil Meche, Chris Reitsma and Jason Marquis.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.