Catfish and Home

Near Mountain Home, Arkansas, 1938, courtesy of the Collections of the Library of Congress.

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Catfish and Home

by Josh Eure
Southern Cultures, Vol. 17, No. 3: Memory

"Jimmy 'Catfish' Hunter pitched for the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees and in 1987 was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame - all the while maintaining his small-town farming roots. He played every game with the shotgun pellets from a childhood hunting accident lodged in his foot, and natives imagined he held a major piece of them in his cleats."

I was never much for baseball. It wasn’t that I hated the sport. I simply had no skill for it. A pop-fly to my left field usually went uncaught—never mind my batting. I was tall, arms hung apelike from my body, and my movements were too stretched out, languid flourishes that were useless. I wasn’t built for it. But in Hertford, North Carolina, where baseball hung in every home, office, classroom, and service station, a boy like me had little else to choose from. Hertford was baseball.