Former MLBer Erik Pappas is back and playing for Greece ... at 57 years old

September 25th, 2023

It's not unusual for nations playing in the European Championship to have former big leaguers on their rosters: The Netherlands has Roger Bernadina and Didi Gregorius on the team; Israel claims Ty Kelly and Ryan Lavarnway, and Eric Sogard has returned to play for the Czech Republic after making his debut in the World Baseball Classic.

While players like these provide talent, wisdom and experience, suffice to say no one has experience quite like Greece's backup catcher and first baseman, Erik Pappas. That's because Pappas -- born on April 25, 1966 -- is 57 years old.

Drafted sixth overall by the Angels in 1984, Pappas went on to play 104 games for the Cubs and Cardinals from 1991-94. That's also when he got snapped enjoying a bowl of fruit for his Topps Stadium Club card:

Though he left affiliated baseball in 1996, clearly the game has never left Pappas, who is playing in Europe's biggest baseball competition nearly three decades later. 

This is far from the first time that Pappas, who is also a coach for the Hellas, has played for the team, though. He originally joined the team when Greece hosted the Olympics -- all the way back in 2004. To put that in perspective, that's the year that the youngest player on Greece's roster -- Achilleas Karaiskos -- was born.

This is what Pappas told Baseball America back then

"I was playing absolutely no baseball," Pappas said. "I had no interest in playing in those over-30 leagues. I heard about the Olympics and Greece maybe having a team about five years ago, and thought, "That's great. I'll be 38.' I didn't think the team would concern me."

Though Pappas didn't see the field in Greece's first game on Sunday -- a 14-1 loss to Spain, -- '90s kids can dream of at least a pinch-hitting appearance against the Czech Republic on Monday or Austria on Tuesday.