Friend Encounters is a weekly series featuring friends who have met celebrities.
Although some start celebrating the Christmas season way back around Halloween, I prefer waiting until December starts. With that in mind, I kick off the Christmas season by featuring Santa Claus with one of my favorite ballplayers of my youth.
Eric Soderholm was an young third baseman for the Minnesota Twins when he injured his knee in the 1975 offseason. After a year on the injured list, he came back with the Chicago White Sox for the 1977 season. That was the year of the Southside Hit Men. Eric slugged 25 home runs on his way to winning the American League Comeback Player of the Year award. Eric retired after the 1980 season. He hit .264 for his career, with 764 hits and 102 home runs.
Eric stayed busy after retiring as a player. He did some scouting, opened a ticket broker business and dabbled in other business, too.
In 1997, Eric and his family opened SoderWorld, a healing and wellness center in the Chicago suburbs. It is a work of love for Eric. Surrounded by his family, in a peaceful place, Eric is enjoying life.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Eric for HeroTV last year. My HeroTV interviews with Eric can be found at HeroTV 2018 Eric Soderholm Part 1 and HeroTV 2018 Eric Soderholm Part 2. It was a thrill meeting him and learning about SoderWorld.
Last December, Eric met Santa Claus at the Prince Arcade in Bolingbrook. I think Santa should have visited SoderWorld. With all of the stress around the holidays, Santa could have used a bit of relaxation. Maybe Eric gave Santa some tips/
My tip to all reading this is SoderWorld gift cards would make wonderful Christmas gifts (even just for yourself). Santa would like that, too, because gift cards lighten his load. Check out SoderWorld.com for more info on all the great stuff happening there.