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Arizona Diamondbacks All-time Top 50: #38, Eric Byrnes

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The crash test dummy front flipped his way into our hearts and the team’s wallet.

Cool story, bro.
  • Avg ranking (high/low/most common): 36.34 (13/50/50)
  • Seasons: 2006 - 2009 OF
  • Stats: 439 games, .261/.317/.446 = .764 OPS, 91 OPS+, 4.2 bWAR
  • Best season: 2007 - 160 games, .286/.353/.460 = .813, 103 OPS+, 3.7 bWAR
  • 2007: 50 Stolen base and 20 HRs, Fielding Bible Award LF, 11th in MVP voting
  • Sucked BIG-TIME 2008 & 2009

Byrnes signed with the D-backs in December 2005 after being granted free agency by the Baltimore O’s. The contract at the time was worth 2.5 million. Byrnes quickly became a staple in LF playing the majority of the 2006 and all of the 2007 season out there.....past, them trees. Byrnes was known for his hustle and lack of care for his body in the outfield as he would make spectacular, over the top plays. Let us not forget his gnarly front flip throws to home, bros. Also, his grit and hustle forced him to do “smart” things on the base path. like slide head first into 1st base, completing the sweep of the D-backs at the hands of the Rockies in the 2007 NLCS.

Byrnes goes head first into oblivion.

Byrnes’s bulldozer style of play, swagger and performance in 2006 and early 2007 earned him a big bag of monies in the form of a mid-season contract extension in 2007 worth 30 mil for 3 years. Byrnes had previously told the media that contract talks were off and he may look to sign elsewhere. Soon after, Moorad clicked his heels 3 times and Byrnes was sent to cash town on the money train.

Eric did continue to perform well for the remainder of the D-backs 2007 season and post-season. Things, however, would change thereafter. Byrnes started 2008 off in a mega slump offensively, striking out often and producing a lot of pop ups. He was later diagnosed with two torn hammies, bro. He subsequently called trying playing to play through that injury, “The stupidest thing I could have ever done, because I end up tearing the hamstring completely off the bone, costing me a year and a half.” He played only 52 games that year, batting just .209 in 206 at bats.

2009 was no better for Byrnsie as he was hit by a pitch during a game in June vs Texas which resulted in a broken hand. Byrnzo was brought back in September after a rehab stint in Reno, and he appeared overall in 84 games hitting .226 in 239 at bats. Byrnes ended his career with the D-backs after being released in January 2010 to make room for Adam LaRoche. He described it as “a slap to the face,” saying later, “What they wanted to do was just get rid of me as if I was a bad person and potentially a bad teammate. I never liked the way that came across.”

After Byrnes was released he signed with SEA, did crazy Byrnes type stuff there, and was ultimately released. Rumor has it, the last straw came when he rode away into the night on a Huffy, after a game in which he badly botched a squeeze play. Eric “bolted out the front door of the clubhouse riding his beach cruiser bicycle mere minutes after the game ended. He made a right turn down a tunnel and then made a 90-degree left turn around approaching Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik before he could make eye contact. Zduriencik glanced up, then kept walking to the clubhouse that had every Mariners player but Byrnes in it.”

However, the Byrnes-meister went on to play beer-league softball while earning the rest of his tubular $11 mil that year to chug and run, courtesy of the D-backs. [Above is Eric’s first hit for his team, who appropriately enough were sponsored by a brand of vodka. Because that contract certainly drove many D-backs fans to drink heavily] Today Byrnes does some wacky-hair commentary on MLB network as a TV personality and also participates in various radio sports talk shows around the Country.

Overall, Byrnes will be remembered for his die-hard style of play, his 2007 MVP caliber season, having the Best Sports Hair in Phoenix, his sweet conversion Van, and also his D-backs TV show (below) where he showed us how we could be hella-cool like him. We will also never forget the bags of monies he was handed in 2007, and the horrible lack of return it brought the Diamondbacks in 2008 and 2009.