Eric Gold was considered among the finest defensive shortstops in Section II in his days playing for the Schenectady baseball team. He could hit and pitch, too, and was on the mound as a senior in 1992 when the Patriots, the merged team from Linton and Mont Pleasant, clinched the Big 10 title.
Despite his many gifts, he was a modest all-star
Today, he is a modest dad.
His son Luke and daughter Ana have been doing special things in the field and with their bats ever since the siblings joined Ballston Spa's varsity baseball and softball teams. Like their dad, they have earned all-star recognition and have been a part of some big victories.
"They have been blessed with so many good coaches," Eric Gold said.
He was the first, and started his youngsters on their successful path and is still there for a drill session or some encouraging words.
"He is so talented with his knowledge of the game and ability to translate it to the kids," said Eric Gold's wife, Julie. "He's so good with them."
In a lot of ways, they are so much like him, starting with the shortstop position they play.
"When the kids started to get involved in ball, that's what I knew," said Eric Gold, who competed for Division II Tusculum College in Tennessee after graduating from Linton High School. "We spent a lot of time on the mechanics and techniques. They developed into infielders."
And quality batters who can hit for both average and power. Luke Gold batted .431 last season as a junior with eight home runs when he was named to the all-state first team. Ana Gold batted .411 last season as a freshman with 12 home runs when she was named to the all-state second team.
"The swing they have is because of him," said Eric Gold's dad, Bill, who had a successful varsity coaching stint with the Mohonasen baseball team in the 1980s. "They put in a lot of time. They broke it down. Filmed it. When I was coaching it was, 'Keep your [back] elbow up and take your cuts.'"
Eric Gold said much of his teaching ways with Luke, Ana and his youngest son, Joey — a freshman middle infielder on Ballston Spa's junior varsity team — are based on Daniel Coyle's award-winning book "The Talent Code." In it, Coyle emphasizes how talent isn't God-given, but can be created and nurtured with diligence.
"They are not naturally talented," Eric Gold said of his children. "Success comes from hard work and understanding, developing and mastering components. I am a big believer in deliberation practice. Five to 10 minutes on something very specific rather than just swinging a bat for an hour."
In the basement of the Gold household, much has been accomplished toward that aim.
"He taught me everything," Ana Gold said of her dad, who works for Gateway Dermatology. "Mechanics. The mental side of the game. If I want to get a workout in, he's never said no."
Eric Gold said while he and his wife would like to watch every game their children play, sometimes it's just not possible.
"What's great is when both [varsity] teams are at home and we can go back and forth. The fields are side by side," Eric Gold said. "If the games are at different locations, we'll split it up, but depending on what game it is, I get dibs."
Eric Gold said he's enjoyed watching his oldest children grow both on and off the playing field.
"The most satisfying thing is seeing them mature," he said. "They are understanding that when you believe in something and put the work in, you will see the results. They are learning a life lesson. In this instance, it is through sports."