Published: May 1, 2008
You could call Eric Reese, CBA ’08, soft-spoken, but poised and collected are more suitable adjectives for the Fordham University Rams’ second baseman. Named to the first-team All-Atlantic 10 in 2007, Reese is also in his second year as team captain and serves as the steadying force of a Rams squad in a battle to reach the postseason.
“He’s our leader,” said Fordham head coach Nick Restaino. “He cares about the team first in his decisions. That’s really what it comes down to: his decisions are unselfish, and he’s motivated by what is best for the team.”
This season, Reese has moved from leadoff to third in the lineup, where there is more responsibility on him to drive in runs. Although his batting average has dropped from .362 as a junior to .329 this year, Reese has already surpassed many of his personal bests. His 15 extra base hits, 41 RBIs and 29 stolen bases are all career highs.
“I pride myself on getting better every year,” Reese said, attributing much of his success to his work with hitting coach Kiko Reyes.
Restaino calls Reese the team’s best hitter, but both he and starting pitcher Tom Davis, CBA ’08, assert that his defense is just as valuable to the Rams’ success.
“(Reese) is like a brick wall over at second base,” Davis said. “He’s got great range and he’s turned so many double plays, I’ve lost count.”
Outside of the games, Reese spends much of his time practicing and working out in order to keep improving.
“You can’t rest on your laurels.” Reese said. “Every day is a new day, and you have to work harder that day than the previous day.”
Reese’s biggest fan, his father Hank Reese, recognizes how his son’s efforts have paid off.
“I think his work ethic and commitment have been what’s enabled him to have the success that he’s had,” Hank Reese said. A native of Sparta, N.J., Reese was a three-sport athlete in high school. Along with baseball, he played quarterback for the Sparta High School football team and point guard in basketball.
At 6’1”—likely too short to progress much further in football and basketball—Reese decided to focus on his passion and play baseball at Fordham.
Since arriving, Reese has been the embodiment of the student-athlete, and he holds that balancing baseball and academics is “a full-time job.” Throughout all the rigors of the season, hard work has allowed Reese to maintain a 3.56 GPA.
“There are a lot of bus trips that get used up writing papers,” Reese said. “If baseball doesn’t work out in the future, I need [my degree] to fall back on.”
Reese will attempt to continue playing baseball professionally, and this June he will enter the Major League Baseball Draft, following in the footsteps of former teammates Cory Riordan (Colorado Rockies), John Mollicone (Tampa Bay Rays) and Javier Martinez (Seattle Mariners), all of whom were drafted in 2007.
Reese said he benefited greatly from playing Cape Cod League baseball for the Orleans Cardinals last summer, a hotspot for college prospects, and he has already received interest from 12 to 15 major league teams. Reese believes all of the hard work is well worth it if he can continue playing the game he loves for just a little longer.
“I figure there’s plenty of time to sit on my butt in a cubicle behind a desk when I get older,” Reese said.
However things work out for Reese professionally, he’ll still have his parents’ support.
“We would be ecstatic if he gets drafted,” Hank Reese said. “We know if he does get an opportunity, he is going to give it his best shot. Wherever that takes him, we’ll be just as proud one way or the other.”