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Title: Catch: A Major League Life

# Pages: 257
Published: Random House, 1989
Availability: same old story; out of print but available used.

Written By: Ernie Whitt and Greg Cable
Who Is: Ernie Whitt was the longest-serving of the original expansion draft Blue Jays, and was the right-handed half of the Jays' catching platoon throughout the 1980s. Later on he was a coach and the manager of Canada's national baseball team. Greg Cable (who is briefly described in the "About the Author" section, which doesn't mention Whitt at all, giving us some idea of just who was responsible for what) is some kind of freelance writer/editor/something. I briefly tried searching for Cable online and didn't find anything that was obviously about this guy.

What It's About: It's about the life and times of Ernie Whitt, of course, up to the start of the '89 season (so it leaves out the interesting parts of the '89 season, plus his brief stints with Atlanta in 1990 and Baltimore in 1991, and everything after that). Mostly it seems to have been written during the '88 season, which is nice except that not a lot of interesting stuff happened in '88. Okay, the George Bell controversy, but what else have you got?

How's the Writing: It's pretty good, actually; serviceable if not spectacular. (Let's give Cable credit for that.) It appears to have passed through an editor's hands at some point. This might be the first time I've read the book since I read it when it originally came out, but I can see myself going back to it. It's just an as-told-to, of course, but pretty good by the standards of an as-told-to.

Anecdotes: Here's a little story about the 1984 season you might enjoy. I edited it a little bit; you can probably figure out how.

Joey McLaughlin had been our main stopper in '83, going into 50 games for us. But in '84, Joey struggled early and ended up pitching only eleven innings in six games. After Coxy had put him in a few times only to see us end up losing, he swore he was not going to use Joey in a save situation again. But one Saturday afternoon in Detroit, the save situation arose and Coxy brought him in anyway. Joey proceeded to give up a game-winning home run to Chet Lemon, hanging a pitch right where Lemon likes it. Before the ball was even over the fence, Coxy was standing on the dugout steps screaming, "I've got to be the dumbest melonfarmer around. How could I do it? I said I wouldn't do it and I still went out and did it. I'm the dumbest farming manager in the game. I've just got to be the dumbest manager around."
10/01 Blue Jays Library in a Box: Catch | 11 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Matthew E - Friday, January 29 2010 @ 11:06 PM EST (#211491) #
One of the things I'd like to review for this feature is the documentary Chasing the Dream. Unfortunately I've never seen it, I don't have a copy, and when I tried to e-mail the company who made it I got no response. Can anyone hook me up?
Mick Doherty - Friday, January 29 2010 @ 11:11 PM EST (#211492) #
Nice little review. But I have to admit, the highlight of this story, for me, was "melonfarmer." Genius.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, January 30 2010 @ 05:50 AM EST (#211494) #
This is my stupid, but I Googled: Baseball Documentary Chasing the Dream.  Stuff showed up, I just don't know if it's any help.
Matthew E - Saturday, January 30 2010 @ 02:27 PM EST (#211499) #
Mick: Thanks, but it's not mine; I ganked it from the writer Ayun Halliday. And I suspect it's not original to her either.

Richard: I'll check it out.

Nick Holmes - Saturday, January 30 2010 @ 03:56 PM EST (#211501) #
Hey Matthew, do you mean the 1993 video?
If so the Toronto Public library has a copy (on VHS), & you can reserve it online.
Ken M. - Saturday, January 30 2010 @ 04:05 PM EST (#211502) #
Video is on sale at Amazon for $86.86 Canadian dollars.


iains - Sunday, January 31 2010 @ 12:06 AM EST (#211506) #
If I remember correctly, Chasing the Dream featured Shannon Stewart among others down in A ball
TimberLee - Monday, February 01 2010 @ 10:16 AM EST (#211518) #
I remember watching that documentary about three Jays' minor leaguers with my young daughter, and I asked her who she thought might "make it".  We both agreed that Stewart was the only likely Major Leaguer.... The stuff one never forgets.
Mike Green - Monday, February 01 2010 @ 11:47 AM EST (#211520) #
I am in the middle of Ball Four, which I read parts of in the 70s.  There's a great dugout scene where Norm Miller, a pitcher, is doing a mock interview of Joe Morgan who has just struck out.  It goes something like this:

"Joe Morgan, what was the last pitch there?  Norm, it was a melonfarming curveball.  Joe, what's the difference between a curveball and a melonfarming curveball.  A curveball has a nice steady break on it and you can hit it, but a melonfarming curveball has a nice steady break until the end when it falls sharply off and you swing and miss.  Thanks, Joe Morgan."

Alas, none of the dugout interview work found its way into Joe's TV career, notwithstanding George Carlin's efforts.  There's a lot going on in melonfarming...

John Northey - Monday, February 01 2010 @ 12:49 PM EST (#211523) #
Ouch.  Found the 1993 WS video at a Value Village for $2 a couple weeks ago.  Couldn't resist even though I think I already own it.  Would love it if the Jays would release on DVD their old season previews in bulk - TSN used to show them before each season from 1977 up to the 'present day' (1988 I think was the last year they did this).  I taped them all once but the quality is pretty much unviewable now.  I remember the 'it takes two' where they went through all their platoons of 1983 as being one of the fun moments. 
ANationalAcrobat - Saturday, February 13 2010 @ 08:38 AM EST (#211793) #
John, is that a highlights package or the actual world series games? I have been looking for a set with the actual games of the '92 and '93 world series for a while but as far as I know, it doesn't exist. I contacted Rogers and a handful of other people searching for a set with the games, but no luck.
10/01 Blue Jays Library in a Box: Catch | 11 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.