My fury over Facebook Catfishing was still simmering in the morning (I am far from done).

And then, by some kind of weird sort of cosmic serendipity, the song I heard playing on my iPod (one of 4000+ songs randomly shuffled) was the sign Catfish by Bob Dylan.

How is this even possible? I heard a line about “million dollars”- but when I looked up the song lyrics, I found the song was written for / about former baseball pitcher Catfish Hunter.

Thus flashbacks were triggered.

Topps baseball card, I have no rights to it. I had this card as a kid, I bought it sometime in 1973.
Topps baseball card, I have no rights to it. I had this card as a kid, I bought it sometime in 1973.

At ten years old, I was at game 2 of the 1973 American League Championship series when Catfish Hunter pitched for a win by Oakland over my home team Orioles by a score of 6-3. My mom had gotten us tickets from the boss of her company — his regular seats at old Memorial Stadium were second row box seats just one section to the 3rd base side of home plate, but for the Championship game we were a bit higher, but still in the lower deck on the 3rd base side.

So Catfish Hunter beat my home team (and the A’s took the series), but the thing that was also special about Catfish Hunter, to me as a 10 year old, was that he was diabetic; just like me.

The story is that A’s owner Charles Finley gave the young kid from North Carolina a “flashy” nickname Of “Catfish” to raise his profile. Everyone at home just called Hunter “Jim”.

But Hunter did a bigger thing to the tight fisted baseball owners:

Although an unassuming ballplayer who rarely took himself seriously, Hunter was wise enough to become the first big-money free agent.

He busted the system in 1974, getting out of his contract with the A’s, and signing to a then huge one with the Yankees. He was not called a “free agent” but set a model for what followed soon (that was Curt Flood whose case established the new rules).

Sadly, he passed away in 1999 from Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Not all Catfishing is a bad thing.

Used to work on Mr. Finley’s farm
But the old man wouldn’t pay
So he packed his glove and took his arm
An’ one day he just ran away

Catfish, million-dollar-man
Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can

Come up where the Yankees are
Dress up in a pinstripe suit
Smoke a custom-made cigar
Wear an alligator boot

Catfish, million-dollar-man
Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can

I really wish I did not give away my box of baseball cards I collected as a kid. Cause in that box was at least 3 Catfish Hunter cards.


Top / Featured Image Credits: I was rather disappointed in the lack of licensed for reuse photos of pitcher baseball star Catfish Hunter; even his Wikipedia article has only a photo of him as an old man, and on the mound as a Yankee. Instead, I used a screen shot of the search results of a wide open google images search on “Catfish Hunter Athletics” seeking images from the era I remember him playing for Oakland.

These images are all of tiny size, and thus low resolution, and with some arm waving about using them for an educational purpose (if nostalgic blogging is that), I might waft about this Wikipedia Content Free thing I came across. I cannot even find it. Copyright is dumb.

The post "The Catfish I Remember" was originally cracked open and scrambled from a rotten egg at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2016/02/catfish-i-remember/) on February 22, 2016.

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