|Tsuyoku Takaku Bo-ru Tobase||強く高くボール飛ばせ||Launch the ball strong and high|
|Rettsu go- Kyanberu||レッツゴーキャンベル||Let’s Go, Campbell!|
|Sa- yuku zo sho-ri e susume susume susume||さぁ行くぞ勝利へ 進め進め進め||OK let’s go towards victory, advance advance advance|
|Kyanberu! Kyanberu!||キャンベル！キャンベル！||Campbell! Campbell!|
Eric Campbell attended Norwich Free Academy, where he excelled at nearly every infield position. He earned a scholarship to Boston College, where he played for three years before being selected by the New York Mets in the 8th round of the 2008 Amateur Draft. He bounced around in the low minors for five seasons before cracking Triple A in 2013. Playing for the Las Vegas 51s, he showed a good mix of average and middling power, hitting .314 with 8 home runs and 25 doubles. He asked his managers to give him a chance in the outfield in an attempt to get more playing time, and practiced hard to improve offensively and defensively.
in May 2014, Campbell made his big league debut, collecting his first career RBI in his first game (a pinch hit sacrifice fly), his first hit the next day (a single off Cole Hamels), and his first home run ten days after that. He would end the season with somewhat respectable numbers (.263 average, 50 hits, 3 home runs, 16 RBIs). Despite being bumped back and forth between the majors and AAA during 2015, Campbell hit the ball well (he was called baseball’s unluckiest hitter by the Wall Street Journal because his average was a poor indicator of how well he was making contact) despite ending with a .197 average and 3 home runs. The next season saw Campbell experiencing much of the same thing – demotions to make room for new acquisitions, and promotions to fill injury voids. His numbers were not very spectacular, and the team assigned him to AAA at season’s end. He chose instead to become a free agent.
The Hanshin Tigers signed Campbell to a one-year deal on December 2, and at the time had third base open for him to take. Matt Hague didn’t pan out the way the team expected, and Takashi Toritani vowed to win back the starter’s role at shortstop. (He would ultimately be supplanted by Fumiya Hojoh, but won the third base role over the other options.)
Unfortunately, Campbell stumbled in spring camp a few times. First, he suffered gastroenteritis around the middle of February, which knocked him out for a few days. Then, on the next-to-last day of camp, he tweaked his wrist while swinging through a pitch in an intrasquad game. The injury kept him out of action through the exhibition schedule, and saw him starting the season on the farm. He saw his first action on April 12, and hit .261 through 8 games (playing first base and left field).
Campbell got a call-up on April 25th, and pinch hit that night against the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, collecting an RBI in the process. Two days later, he got his first NPB start, batting fifth and playing first base. He recorded his first NPB hit in his second at bat (third inning) and got another RBI in the bottom of the 7th. He would stand on the hero’s podium that night. The following week, starting in Tokyo against the Yakult Swallows, Campbell made a couple of poor fielding plays, resulting in his benching and being used primarily as a pinch hitter for awhile. In an attempt to get more playing time, he asked if he could play afternoon games on the farm team (which plays its home games somewhat near Koshien Stadium).
On May 24, one man’s nightmare (Toritani took a fastball to the face, breaking his nose) became another man’s opportunity. Campbell got the start the next night against the Yomiuri Giants, hitting his first (and only) NPB home run and driving in three. Unfortunately, he slid into a 25-at-bat hitless streak after that, and was farmed on June 7.
The club picked up Jason Rogers at the start of July, and even though he didn’t get a proper chance either, his acquisition all but sealed Campbell’s fate. Despite being permanently banished to the farm, Campbell hit a respectable .304 with 4 home runs and 31 RBI in 224 at bats. When the farm season ended on September 28, Campbell returned to America. The team officially announced his release on December 2.
Video – Campbell’s First RBI (April 28, 2017)
Podcast Episode 57 – What to do with Campbell? (April 17, 2017)
Campbell Press Conference (January 27, 2017)
Campbell Arrives, Meets Press (January 26, 2017)
Hanshin Signs Mets’ Campbell (December 2, 2016)