|No Valentine from Valentine!|
Umpire Bill Valentine seemed to have two lists of catchers he encountered in his career.
Yesterday, he shared comments of those catchers he admired.
Valentine reserved a few words for the oddball receivers he remembered, writing:
“Everyone will tell you Berra ran at the mouth. But the one who ran at the mouth the most was Andy Etchebarren of the Baltimore club. He was a so-so catcher, and a real pain in the ass. He ran at the mouth for no reason, and really made his pitchers have to throw to a tighter strike zone because of his mouth. The out-of-the-strike-zone pitches he wanted when he was catching, we gave to him when he was hitting.
“Cleveland’s Joe Azcue was talkative, but in a great and friendly way. Hitters would sometimes say, ‘Shut up, Joe. I’m trying to hit.’ He loved it when they did that, and he would keep on chatting with me about anything.
“I broke in behind the plate in the American League behind Haywood Sullivan, and he stood up so high I think I had to stand up, just to try and see around him. There was a Spanish catcher, Paul Casanova, who caught for the Washington Senators in the late sixties, who got down so low he was about knee high. That was when the big outside chest protector came in handy.”