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The Pastime in the
Seventies
Bill Ballew
P.O. Box 692
Arden, NC 28704
(Please allow two
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                      John Bateman --- 1970

                                                                                      March 30 - 31, 2015   

A lumbering catcher, John Bateman would
appear in the first game in franchise history
for both the Houston Colt .45’s and the
Montreal Expos. Along the way, he would
catch the most games during the 1960’s for
the Houston franchise, placing himself in
the history books.

Bateman’s first historic notation would come
on May 17, 1963 as he guided Colt .45
hurler Don Nottebart through a 4-1 no-hitter
of the Phillies. The no-no would be the first
in franchise history. As the hind snatcher
matured into the Astros starting catcher, he
would launch 16 long balls in 1966 to
establish a club record for the position that
still stands today. Unfortunately defense
was not Bateman’s forte as he led National
League catchers in errors four times during
his 10-year career, while twice topping the
Senior Circuit in passed balls.

Exposed in the 1969 Expansion Draft,
Bateman would join the Baby Expos for their
inaugural season. Though reading in
The
Complete Handbook of Baseball 1973
, it
notes that “he was constantly in manager
Gene Mauch’s doghouse because of
weight… Mauch’s $1 per pound overweight
fines cost him a few dollars.”

However, in the book and on various web
sites, Bateman was listed at 6’3” while
weighing between 200 and 210 pounds.  As
a guy who also rises 6-foot-3, I wish I could
tip the scales to only 210 pounds--- too
much pasta for this pizzano.

All totaled, Bateman would hit .230 with 81
homers over his decade of playing, finishing
his career with the Phillies in 1972 after the
Expos purged the pudgy catcher during the
middle of the season.