Friend Encounters is a weekly series featuring my friends who have met celebrities.
I grew up a Chicago White Sox fan and nothing wqs better than the 1977 South Side Hitmen! The 3rd baseman on that team was Eric Soderholm who would be named American League Comeback Player of the Year for his efforts.
Back then I never imagined I would one day interview Eric and call him a friend, but it happened thanks to my role on HeroTV. That interview can be found at HeroTV 2018 Episode 12: Eric Soderholm Part 1 and HeroTV 2019 Episode 1 Eric Soderholm Part 2. Paul Myers and I talked to Eric about his career and also SoderWorld, his family's health and wellness center.
Eric was traded to the Texas Rangers midway through the 1978 season. He last played in 1980 with the New York Yankees. Since then he has gone on to several businesses, the latest being SoderWorld.
Located in Willowbrook, SoderWorld is a mind, body and spirit sanctuary. They offer classes and sessions in a peaceful and beautiful setting. I felt calmer just being there and talking to Eric.
While Eric's career ended before Ron Kittle joined the Sox in 1983, obviously their paths crossed many times. One of those times was at the Sox convention a few years back. I always enjoy seeing different eras of Sox players mixed together. Although their Sox careers were only a few years apart, the '77 team and the '83 team were quite different, although equally exciting.
Like Eric, Kittle has ventured into several businesses after is baseball career ended. He is one of the most likable, fan-friendly guys around. I only met Kittle once and unfortunately, my photographer blew the picture (in the pre-technology days). I hope to get another chance to meet Kitty in the future.
Go to SoderWorld.com and RonKittle.com to learn more about these great Sox alums and their businesses. I highly encourage you to take a trip to SoderWorld, even if just to soak in the serenity.
Ron Kittle and Eric Soderholm in Chicago, IL-January 2017.