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Friday, May 7, 2010

Eric Byrnes' Next Gig After Baseball: Selling Sofas

Posted By on Fri, May 7, 2010 at 1:50 PM

This morning, we reported that former Oakland A's fan favorite Eric Byrnes, just days after being cut off the Seattle Mariners, was playing beer-league softball here in the Bay Area.

But it hasn't been all play and no work for the young retiree. Byrnes was spotted hawking houseware at a San Carlos store, chatting with customers apparently blissfully unaware that the tall, blond man selling them a mattress or end table was, at that very moment, still earning $11 million a year. That would certainly make the Peninsula native one of the better-paid furniture salesmen of all time.

"People love him down here. He's the best. He brings me coffee all the time," says Byrnes' "boss," Patrick Peavey of Home Plate Furnishings in San Carlos. Peavey -- a longtime Byrnes buddy and a former minor-league ballplayer in the Houston Astros chain -- estimates that half his customers don't realize who Byrnes is when he's serving as their salesman. In fact, Byrnes would drop in and sell furniture even in the days he was still playing Big League ball.

Byrnes' transition from baseball to slow-pitch softball didn't go quite as smoothly as his furniture-selling gig. Starting in left-center field Wednesday night and batting cleanup for "Dutch Goose," he went 1-for-3 against the Courson Company softball team. But he sure did sparkle in the field.

click to enlarge scan_2009allenginter_ericbyrnes.jpg
"I'm sure going from 90 mile-per-hour fastballs to slow softballs takes time," said opposing pitcher Chris Quinn.

Nursing a slim lead in the bottom half of the final inning, Quinn actually offered an intentional pass to Byrnes to set up a force at home plate. "I had to be the bad guy and intentionally walk him so he couldn't be the hero," notes the pitcher. But Byrnes' teammates came through with clutch hits to pull out a 15-14 win.

Scoring the winning run, by the way, was John Gall -- a Stanford alum, Byrnes' cousin, and former St. Louis Cardinal and Florida Marlin.

So, yes, the Dutch Goose bar and restaurant's recreational softball team has not one but two former Major League ballplayers. "Hopefully, we'll win some games," notes Greg Stern, the bar's owner.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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