Kirk Craig Saarloos was born May 23, 1979 in Long Beach, California. He attended college at Cal State Fullerton and made his major league debut on June 18, 2002. Saarloos (rhymes with Carlos) is married to Kristen, but his MLB profile page doesn’t mention any kids.
Really, the whole reason I put together a Human League entry for Saarloos was just an excuse to link to this article that I stumbled upon this evening. It comes from Examiner.com, out of San Francisco, where author Mychael Urban has a lot of love for Saarloos’s approach to the game:
Granted, kids typically gravitate to players who put up big numbers and appear nightly on highlight shows, and Saarloos â€” rhymes with Carlos â€” does neither. So anonymous is he that even if you wanted to pick up a No. 31 jersey at McAfee Coliseum last year, youâ€™d have been out of luck.But the fact that heâ€™s so anonymous is a sad commentary. This is a young man who embodies everything right and good about sports, yet heâ€™s continually overshadowed by the criminals, cheats and look-at-me athletes who pollute our daily sports sections.
Saarloos was an accomplished collegian, a first-team All-American. But heâ€™s barely 6 feet tall, well under 200 pounds, right-handed and rarely tops 90 on the radar gun, so after being drafted by the Houston Astros, he essentially dropped off the baseball map.
We want our role-model athletes to overcome adversity, right? With his mother battling breast cancer during spring training 2005, Saarloos took his heavy heart to the mound â€” hiding a cancer-awareness bracelet in his back pocket â€” and won a spot in Oaklandâ€™s starting rotation.
We want our role-model athletes to carry themselves with class, too, right? Saarloos bounced between the bullpen and rotation so often in 2006 that he had never had the luxury of routine. Not only did he not complain, he picked up a save and a win (as a starter) in one memorable six-day span.
And we want our role-model athletes to be humble. Asked if he was going to contribute to Barry Zitoâ€™s Strikeouts for Troops program by donating $100 for every strikeout he records, the soft-tossing Saarloos said, â€œI think itâ€™d be better for the soldiers if I gave them $100 for every batter I hit.â€
So what if he doesnâ€™t light up â€œSportsCenterâ€? He does his job well, stays out of trouble and keeps everything in perspective. So find out what number Saarloos is wearing with the Reds, order a custom jersey and give it to your kid.
Sure sounds like a sweetie, huh? He sounds downright Sean Casey-esque. We touchy-feely types here at Red Hot Mama will be watching his career with great interest.