10/01 Blue Jays Library in a Box: Catch

Friday, January 29 2010 @ 11:02 PM EST

Contributed by: Matthew E

I actually don't have a lot of these left to do.

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."