Pitcher - Texas Rangers
The source of this interview has the looks of a young Greg Maddux when he went through the Midwest League with the Peoria Chiefs in the 80s. He has also been rightfully compared to current Texas Rangers pitching coach Orel Hershiser in his hay day.
Top Prospect Alert is pleased to present an interview with the Texas Rangers' 1st round selection (30th overall) in the 2004 draft – right-hand pitcher Eric Hurley.
TPA: What role has your family played in your baseball career?
Hurley: Huge, Huge!!! My mom, dad, brother and my wife are my biggest fans. My dad taught me baseball.
TPA: Prior to your high school career, what baseball experience(s) stick out in your mind?
Hurley: I remember the adrenalin and excitement of pitching in Dick Houser Stadium (at Florida State University) with my Babe Ruth team in a semi-final game and all my friendships from those days.
TPA: How would you describe your high school career at Wolfson HS (Jacksonville, FL) while pitching (13-1 with a 0.70 ERA) for one of the nation’s top teams? Were there any special coaches or teammates that left an impression with you on how you will approach the pro game?
Hurley: We had one week (last year) that we were #1 in the nation and I think we finished #2. I won’t forget my coaches, especially Jon Farrell, who still calls me.
TPA: What thoughts/emotions did you experience before, during and after the June 2004 draft? How hard was the decision to sign with the Rangers?
Hurley: I was really nervous waiting with all my family and friends at my home. After my name was said, I receive a call from Orel Hershiser to congratulate me. It was not a hard decision at all to sign with the Rangers.
TPA: Give us an overview of your experiences pitching in rookie ball last season:
Hurley: At rookie ball I got hit around a bit, and there are a lot of smart hitters, but I learned to give 100% every 5th day. All the coaches were great.
TPA: How did you spend your fall '04/spring '05 from a baseball standpoint?
Hurley: I spent some time at instructional league, and worked out at the The HIT Center in Jacksonville with Brett Myers. There are also a lot of Jacksonville Jaguars who train there, too.
TPA: Beckett’s 2004 Rookie Card Rolodex described you as follows…"#2 or #3 starter as he continues to learn". Also, "Best compared to: Orel Hershiser." Do you feel this is a good description and comparison of Eric Hurley? Would there be anything you would add, subtract or change?
Hurley: I’m honored by the comparison to Coach Hershiser and I think the description is good. I wouldn’t add, subtract or change anything.
TPA: On the back of your Bowman trading cards it describes your skills as follows…”Consistently racks up mid-90s readings, even late in games…Throws the heater for strikes…Keeps hitters honest with his slider and change-up”. What aspects of your game do you feel you need to work on and what is your off season training like?
Hurley: I was 195 lbs last year and I increased my weight to 212 lbs. Putting the weight on helped, but I had to regain my balance points, which affected my velocity and mechanics. I feel I have the balance back now. My philosophy is my teammates keep me in the game with there defense/offense and I keep them in the game with my pitching.
TPA: What are your earliest recollections of professional baseball players & games attended? Did you collect baseball memorabilia as kids?
Hurley: Living Jacksonville, FL I was able to attend a few double “A” game and watch the Suns play. I was always amazed at how the player carried themselves on the field. I didn’t collect too many cards, but enjoy watching ball on TV.
TPA: What is your attitude towards in-person and through-the-mail autograph seekers?
Hurley: I love it! I recently receive mail from some fans in Pennsylvania, who are following my career…which is amazing! And I get a lot of letters from little kids.
TPA: Outside of baseball what are your likes and dislikes?
Hurley: I love meeting people and I feel I can get along with anyone. I enjoy a game of pool or darts and hanging out with teammates at night.
TPA: Complete this sentence…When I’m not playing baseball, you would find me_______.
Hurley: Spending time with my wife (just married in December – CONGRATS!) or doing baseball stuff.