The Cy Young Catcher
Sports - History
6 x 9, 208 pp.
15 color photos (8pg. insert). Index.
Pub Date: 03/10/2015
Swaim-Paup-Foran Spirit of Sport Series, sponsored by James C. ’74 & Debra Parchman Swaim, Nancy & T. Edgar Paup ’74, & Joseph Wm. & Nancy Foran
Price:        $29.95

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The Cy Young Catcher

Charlie O'Brien and Doug Wedge

During fifteen seasons in the major leagues, Charlie O’Brien was battery-mate to thirteen pitchers who won the Cy Young Award, presented each year by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

To put that accomplishment in perspective, Hall of Fame catchers Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra each worked with only one Cy Young winner during their careers. Legendary hurlers caught by O’Brien include such greats as Roger Clemens, Dwight Gooden, Bret Saberhagen, and Steve Bedrosian.

O’Brien’s The Cy Young Catcher, written with Doug Wedge, includes up-close views of the thirteen Cy Young Award–winning pitchers at their best . . . and occasionally at their worst.

O’Brien shares an inside perspective on how catchers talk to umpires, what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a 90-mph fastball, and how it feels to be in a clutch situation when the World Series is on the line.
This authentic, down-to-earth memoir will not only delight baseball fans of all stripes, it will also provide keen insights into what separates the game’s greatest competitors from the also-rans.

CHARLIE O’BRIEN led National League catchers in caught-stealing percentage in 1990, with a score of 45.7 percent, and three times he led the league in outs and assists by catchers. His clutch hitting contributed to a National League Championship and subsequent World Series Championship for the Atlanta Braves in 1995. He is retired from baseball and lives in Oklahoma. DOUG WEDGE is an attorney and freelance writer based in Alabama. His short story, “What Are You Doing?” was a winner of the 2008 South Carolina Arts Commission’s Short Fiction Contest.

What Readers Are Saying:

“I first worked with Charlie in 1997.  I knew about his credentials and his background, and we hit it off right away.  We just clicked.” —Roger Clemens, Seven-time Cy Young Award winner

"One of the many oddities of baseball, the game in which the action begins with the team on defense holding the ball, is this: The most interesting and most physically and mentally demanding position is in foul territory. Charlie O'Brien, who spent 15 seasons there, gives readers a glimpse of the game from the best seat -- well, crouch -- in the ballpark." — George F. Will, Syndicated Columnist

“The biggest thing Charlie did was his set up was relaxed and calm.  There was not a lot of jerky movement in his glove.  He didn't drop.  His ass wasn't higher on breaking balls and lower on fastballs, like you see a lot of catchers.  He set up consistently.  He wasn't outer half on one fastball and two inches off on the next one – he was always in that perfect spot.” — Greg Maddux, four-time Cy Young Award winner and National Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee (2014)

“Charlie was really good at knowing what it was that we did well, what our strengths and weaknesses were and making that the focal point of our game plan.”— Tom Glavine, two-time Cy Young Award winner and National Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee (2014)

“Charlie chewed me out one time.  I remember one time he said, "If you're just gonna heave, man, let's go to the bullpen."  Or something like that.  "If you're just gonna come out and heave the ball and throw as hard as you can down the middle, we'll just go to the bullpen.  This is bullshit," or something like that.  And, it just fired me up.  I started pounding that glove.  That's why he was good.  He knew how to do that.  He wasn't afraid, man.  He would say anything to anyone.”  — Pat Hentgen, American League Cy Young Award winner (1996)

“Charlie’s a catcher I would have been comfortable pitching my whole career with.” — Don Sutton, National Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee (1998)

“I liked the fact that Charlie took charge.  He came in, and we didn't really know each other and didn't get to spend a ton of time together, but he wasn't afraid to go right after it and tell me his thoughts and get out there and basically control the game.  And, along those lines, it was real similar with Pudge [Carlton Fisk].”— Jack McDowell, American League Cy Young Award winner (1993)

“Charlie knew hitters.  He knew how to block the plate.  He knew how to handle each pitcher, what their strengths and weaknesses were.  That's a big commodity when comes to a catcher in a game.”— Steve Bedrosian, National League Cy Young Award winner (1987)

“Charlie, I always thought, might go into managing.  He knows the game.”  —Bobby Cox, National Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee (2014)

“He’s what you want when you think of a catcher, a winning catcher, who can handle a pitching staff and develop a young staff.  Charlie is that guy.” — Jeff Torborg, former Major League catcher and manager

"The Cy Young Catcher is a highly entertaining book. Mature readers will enjoy his stories and recollections of his major league experience."--The Writers' Journey

“. . . a great story of perseverance. . . well written and tells a very entertaining story about what it was like to work with some players that we don’t often find much written about.”—Gregg’s Baseball Bookcase blog

 “The Cy Young Catcher is Charlie’s firsthand, up-close and personal testimony of the sport’s lauded pitchers at their best—and at their worst. . . Adventurous and insightful, The Cy Young Catcher is an all-access ticket to an insider’s view of professional baseball, presented with charm and candor.”—Midwest Book Review


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