DENVER -- Eric Young Jr. has been around the Majors most of his life. His father, current D-backs first-base coach Eric Young, had a lengthy and productive playing career during his son's formative years. But this offseason, with his future on the line, Young Jr. turned to Mom.For the past three seasons, Young received periodic call-ups to the Majors, but was shuttled between positions -- second base and the outfield -- and hadn't established a solid footing.
Young entered this season out of Minor League options, meaning if he didn't make the team, he would have to be placed on waivers. If that had happened, he could be claimed by another club or would be dumped back into the Minors with the Rockies -- or simply released and forced to seek another baseball job.Young's mother, Paula Robinson, back home in Piscataway, N.J., played some softball and did some cheerleading, but she freely admits she didn't pass on athletic talent to her son.
But in life experiences, she has plenty. Robinson worked for AT&T in New Jersey for more than 20 years. But almost two years ago, the economy claimed her position.Throughout Young's uncertain apprenticeship, his mother was seeking a job. Yet she always had time to talk her son through his own job situation. "She was pretty much starting from scratch, but every day she wakes up appreciative of the life she is given," Young said. "She was not always given the best of deals. Still, to this day, she'll go through a rough one. But every morning she wakes up and thanks the Lord that she woke up, and gives thanks for all her blessings even when it seems like times aren't going her way.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.