With the Anaheim Angels and the St. Louis Cardinals he was always the first player to sprint to his position when his team took the field.
That is, when he played. The guy missed 45 games last year and 39 the year before that. Maybe he sprinted into the trainer's room?
The 5-foot-61/2 Eckstein knew a tryout at the University of Florida consisted of a round in the batting cage, handling a few ground balls and being timed in the 60-yard dash.
So, sensing the lay of the infield, Eckstein, although uninvited, went to the pre-season scrimmages and sat.
There he was on the end of the bench like a grade niner, waiting and hoping the grade 12 student either would forget his cleats, get a detention or lose his way on campus.
This is how bad it's gotten: when discussing a young , college-aged Eckstein, the analogy Bob Elliott uses is to a younger, high-school-aged Eckstein. Journalists obsess over how young the guy looks. It's positively fetishistic.
Finally, Eckstein was given the chance to play and he not only fit in with the Big Men on Campus, but coaches took a liking to this imp.
He was just called an "imp." This is bordering on pedophilia.
Despite record revenues, baseball has warts and a case of acne worse than a goalie wearing those old form-fitting masks.
But watch Eckstein run the bases a few times and he'll bring back memories of Pete Rose running with his page-boy hair cut.
Eckstein is in constant movement from the time he's on deck. He is a whirling dervish swinging bats in quick circles looking as if he might lift off, helicopter style.
I am scared for David Eckstein. I think Bob Elliott might have a crush on him.
We first met Eckstein in the Yankee Stadium clubhouse in 2001 before the Angels opened post-season play against the Yanks.
This was after a young pup looking all of 18 showed up at Eckstein's locker with close cropped blonde/white hair. We asked: "Know where Esksten is?" The 165-pound, 26-year-old answered "I'm David Eckstein."
Now I know he has a crush on him. A "young pup" with blonde/white hair? In my imagination, Bob Elliott is like a large Texan oil man in a 10-gallon hat, staring at Eckstein and hallucinating a delicious pork chop.