About Eric Byrnes
Eric James Byrnes is a San Francisco Bay Area native who grew up in Woodside, CA and attended St. Francis High School (Mountain View) where he excelled playing both football and baseball in the prestigious West Catholic Athletic League. Byrnes regularly competed against fellow major leaguer Pat Burrell (Bellermine Prep) and future NFL Hall of Fame'r Tom Brady (Serra) in both sports. After his senior year Byrnes was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1994 Major League Baseball draft but elected to attend UCLA on an athletic scholarship.
At UCLA, Byrnes was an All American outfielder and multiple time recipient of the Bruin Academic Award, given to the player with the highest GPA. After a trip to the College World Series in 1997, Byrnes was drafted by the Houston Astros but again chose to put professional baseball on hold in favor of education. In 1998, after his Senior year, Byrnes was drafted for the 3rd time and eventually signed with the Oakland Athletics. Byrnes was elected into the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.
Byrnes made his Major League debut with the Oakland A's against the Cleveland Indians on August 22, 2000. He singled sharply up the middle in his first at bat against All Star Chuck Finley and finished the day 2-4 with a stolen base and 2 runs scored. He also nearly incited a bench clearing brawl with his aggressive style of play. Byrnes was part of the 2002 Oakland A's "Moneyball" team that broke a modern day record with 20 consecutive wins.
In 2003, Byrnes hit in 22 consecutive games and while playing against his favorite childhood team, the San Francisco Giants, Byrnes became the 1st player in AT&T Park history to hit for the cycle. Byrnes played parts of 6 seasons with the A's and was a member of 4 playoff teams.
During several winters throughout Byrnes' Major League career he played for the Licey Tigres of the prestigious Dominican Winter League. In 2002 Byrnes became the 1st American player in over 20 years to win the leagues Most Valuable Player award. Byrnes played a total of 5 winters between 2002 and 2010 and won 2 Dominican League championships with Licey. Along the way, Byrnes, who is bilingual, immersed himself in the Dominican culture and became somewhat of a cult hero. He earned the nickname "Captain America" from the Dominican faithful with his all out style of play. Although, his teammates simply called him "Loco."
In 2005, Byrnes was traded to the Colorado Rockies and then 2 weeks later was traded to the Baltimore Orioles. He was released by the Orioles at the end of the 2005 season.
Byrnes signed a free agent contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006 and went on to hit 26 home runs and steal 25 bases. While playing for the Diamondbacks in 2007, Byrnes became the 11th player in Major League history to hit 20 home runs and steal 50 bases. That same year he won the "Fielding Bible Award," handed out to baseball's best defensive left fielder. During Byrnes' time with the Diamondbacks, he hosted and co produced the Emmy award winning "Eric Byrnes Show" on Fox Sports Arizona. The 30 minute once a month show provided viewers with an in depth look into a major leaguers life on and off the field.
Byrnes went on to play parts of 11 big league seasons with the Oakland A's, Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles, Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners. He compiled 109 career home runs and 129 stolen bases.
In 2010 Byrnes walked away from baseball and began a career in broadcasting. He has since worked for ESPN, FOX, SiriusXM and KNBR. Byrnes is currently an analyst with MLB Network. His unique and straightforward approach has helped him become one of the most entertaining and polarizing broadcasters in sports television.
Ever since his playing days, Byrnes has always been progressive in his thinking on ways to improve the game of baseball. In 2015 and 2016, he partnered with the independent league San Rafael Pacifics and Sports Vision, a Bay Area technology company responsible for creating the Pitch F/X system. The trio conducted two different experiments with the implementation of an automated strike zone. In 2016, HBO Real Sports covered the experiment and helped fuel a national debate on whether ball and strike calls should continue to be called by human umpires while the technology is now available to make sure every pitch is called correctly.
In 2011, Byrnes completed his first full distance Ironman triathlon and as of November of 2017 he has completed 11 full distance Ironman's. In June of 2016 Byrnes completed the grueling Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run where he was the subject and executive producer of the award winning documentary "Diamond To The Rough."
Byrnes is an avid supporter of the Pat Tillman Foundation, Challenged Athletes Foundation and Fit Kids. He resides in Half Moon Bay, Truckee and New York City with his wife Tarah, a former Miss California USA 2002, and their 3 children, Chloe, Cali and Colton.