Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Eric Soderholm

Eric Soderholm was on the White Sox for only two and a half years, but he made an impact as one of the South Side Hitmen of 1977. In 1977 he had a career high of 25 home runs, 67 RBI (which he tied in 1978), 129 hits, 20 doubles, 77 runs and tied a career high of 3 triples.

Eric started his career in 1971 with the Minnesota Twins. He signed with the White Sox in the 1976 off-season. He then had brief stops with the Rangers and the Yankees before retiring. Although he never cracked .300, he is better known for his post-career business ventures.

His baseball career, even though it spanned nine years and brought him an AL Comeback Player of the Year Award in 1977, is almost an afterthought. In Chicago, it's a popular trivia question. Chicago remains in Eric's heart and that's evident in his interview at Baseball Almanac.

After his playing days, Eric scouted American League teams for the Chicago Cubs, after failing to catch on to the team in Spring Training of 1982. He started the Eric Soderholm Baseball Camps for youths and fell into private hitting instruction.

In 1984, he founded Front Row Tickets after a friend inquired about a Michael Jackson concert going on at Comiskey Park. Eric saw, through a contact of his, how legitimate the ticket business was and pushed for Illinois legislation to legalize a large service charge onto the face value of a ticket. I'm not sure if I'm grateful for that or not. I've had to pay a large service charge on Pearl Jam tickets both times I saw them at the United Center, but I suppose it's all supply and demand.

Eric eventually let his brothers take over the operations at Front Row and in 1997, he opened up Soder World in Hinsdale, Illinois. This is one of the first major legitimate healing arts centers to open in Illinois. Soder World is always adding new therapeutic techniques to its repertoire and helping thousands of people in the process. Having gone to school for massage therapy a few miles away from the center, I can tell you that Soder World is one of the best facilities in the Chicago area.

Eric seems to have a special knack for opening businesses right before they explode onto the marketplace. What will his next venture be? If his track record is any indication, it will be a success and it will be near Chicago.

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