Only five Oakland A’s players have had their uniform numbers retired by the team, and one of them is Hall of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley. His unique career featured stunning highs and crushing lows, and in between the good times he became well acquainted with adversity. The same was true in his personal life.
A new MLB Network documentary airing on Thursday (5 p.m. PT) takes a closer look at Eck’s life both on and off the field. Eck: A Story of Saving covers baseball topics including his early days as a starter, his transition to an all-time great reliever, and the infamous Kirk Gibson homer, but also peeks behind the curtain at his marital drama and his struggles with alcohol. Eck himself chimes in throughout, offering an open and honest account of his journey.
For a sneak peak, check out the clip below. Eck addresses his alcohol problem, with help from his daughter, shortly before being acquired by his hometown A’s.
(Or click here to view the video clip.)
I’ve had a chance to see the full hour-long program, and I highly recommend it to all A’s fans. It’s a wonderful tribute to one of the greatest people in the history of the franchise, and it shows off Eck’s positive attitude, his good humor, and his candid self-awareness.
Here’s how to watch
What: Eck: A Story of Saving
Date: Thursday, Dec. 13
Time: 5:00 p.m. PT
Channel: MLB Network
More info from the official press release:
The film features new interviews with Eckersley’s daughter Mandee, plus many who played with, against and covered Eckersley, including Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa, former A’s pitcher and broadcaster Ron Darling, former A’s first baseman Mark McGwire, A’s broadcaster Ray Fosse, former Boston Red Sox starter Bruce Hurst, 1975 American League MVP and Rookie of the Year Fred Lynn, J.G. Taylor Spink Award winners Peter Gammons and Dan Shaughnessy, and NESN play-by-play announcer Dave O’Brien, who all attest to Eckersley’s individuality, his honesty, and his lasting impact on the game.