Chances are that if most of us think of the term “pitching coach”, our minds conjure up an image of someone quite like former Nats’ pitchers’ mentor Steve McCatty. The Michigan native, who was on the Nats’ staff from 2009 through 2015, turns 62 today.
Before McCatty turned to coaching, he had a decent Major League career. In nine seasons with the Oakland A’s, McCatty went 63-63 with a 3.99 ERA. His best year came in the strike-shortened season of 1981 when he had an American League best 14 wins, four complete game shutouts and 2.33 ERA, and finished second behind Milwaukee’s Rollie Fingers for the American League Cy Young Award.
In Washington, McCatty became known as a coach with a gruff exterior who displayed a heart of gold when it came to working with his pitchers. Under McCatty, then Nats went from a team at the bottom of the National League in terms of pitching numbers to one that featured a top level pitching staff.
McCatty will be coaching for the Advanced A-level Lake City Captains in the Cleveland Indians organization this year. While there’s tremendous excitement in Washington over Dusty Baker and his coaching staff’s arrival in DC, it will be strange not to see McCatty ambling to the mound to calm down a struggling pitcher or get a few words in with a home plate umpire who is squeezing a member of his staff. McCatty’s knowledge will undoubtedly benefit young pitcher’s in the Indians’ organization. Here’s hoping “Cat” is back in the show as pitching coach by the time his 63rd birthday comes around.