Friday, October 21, 2011
2002 Upper Deck 40 Man, Eric Junge
#907 Eric Junge
Here is a card that I got signed in Colorado Springs this summer. Actually, my buddy Adam got this card signed since he was 'graphing the Salt Lake Bees side of the field. Junge was the starting pitcher for the Bees that day, so it is kind of surprising that Adam was able to get this card signed since a lot of starters don't like to sign before games they are starting. Adam doesn't collect autographs, or usually try to get them, so I guess that it was his lucky day.
Eric Junge only has ten Major League appearances under his belt and they all came between 2002 and 2003. Prior to that, he advanced quickly through the minors and reached AAA in just his fourth professional season. That fourth season happened to be in 2002 and Eric was a September call-up for the Phillies that year. Eric made the Phillies Opening Day roster in 2004 and he made five relief appearances before hitting the disabled list. He came off the disabled list a month later and made one appearance before going back on it.
Whatever injury Eric suffered really seems to have derailed his career. He made just ten appearances the rest of that season in AAA and, the following season, he made just sixteen appearances at three different minor league levels. At that point, the Phillies must have realized that he was never going to be the same pitcher again and they released him.
Since then, it has been a whirlwind experience for Eric. He has since played for four different organizations as well as playing in the Atlantic League, Japan, and Korea. After making all of those stops, it is kind of amazing that he was pitching at the AAA level in 2011.