An athlete inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame had to struggle with a debilitating disorder off the field, before he could perform on it.
Outfielder Jim Eisenreich had a long, productive major league baseball career; a career resurrected by the Kansas City Royals, who took a chance on a player cut by the Minnesota Twins, in part because of a misdiagnosis of his Tourette’s syndrome. Eisenreich says he didn’t know until he was 23 that his disorder had a name. He says once he found out he had Tourette’s he finally knew he wasn’t the only one who suffered from the condition and knew there was help for him.
Whispers around baseball and among fans suggested Eisenreich couldn’t handle the big show, that his nerves got to him or worse, that he had a psychological disorder. Eisenreich was well aware of the whispers. He says he always felt uncomfortable when people judged him by his disorder rather than by how he played baseball. Eisenreich got the help he needed and got a break from the Royals and his teammates. He had left the game he loved for four years, but returned in 1987. He played for the Phillies for four years and was on the 1997 World Series champion Florida Marlins team.