CATFISH: My Life in Baseball by Jim Catfish & Armen Keteyian Hunter

CATFISH: My Life in Baseball

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Solidly entertaining sports bio from one of the best pitchers of our time. Hunter (and Sports Illustrated writer Keteyian) have put together a fine, funny account of the career of the Catfish. Born just plain Jim in little Hertford, N.C., in 1946, Hunter grew up on a small farm heaving baseballs at the smokehouse door. A star high-school athlete, he was wooed to the major leagues at the age of 18 by Charlie Finley of the then Kansas City A's. A $75,000 signing bonus, and Hunter was in the hands of the most flamboyant baseball showman of the time--Finley immediately came up with the nickname Catfish, which appalled Jim's mother. By the time the A's moved to Oakland in 1968, Hunter was on his way. He pitched a perfect game that year against the Twins, went on to several World Series, and then jumped to the New York Yankees in 1974, signing a five-year contract at the then unheard-of $100,000 per. The rest is Bronx history--the World Series, the fights, the manager switches. What's most touching here is Hunter's firm friendship with fiery Thurman Munson--Munson died in a plane crash in 1979, the year Hunter retired after learning he had diabetes. The stats speak for themselves: only 33 when he left the game, Hunter won 224 games and pitched in five winning World Series--his induction to the Hall of Fame last year was well deserved. Anecdotal, even inspirational (without corn or piousness), and a fine example of the genre.

Pub Date: April 11th, 1988
Publisher: McGraw-Hill