Steve McCatty could use the excuse "I was young; I needed the money" in trying to explain why he posed in swim trunks for the July 1984 edition of 'Playgirl' magazine. He was 31 years old and just a season away from his last pitch in the majors because of injury, so branching out into male modeling wouldn't have been a bad idea. (Especially with that blond mustache of his. Very Larry Bird.)
No matter why, he did the spread — many other major leaguers throughout the '80s did similar photo shoots — and the nearly sexy results are what you see, and what remains on the internet. Too bad for McCatty, the pitching coach of the Washington Nationals today, his players know quite well how to navigate the World Wide Web.
One of them struck beefcake gold in a wonderful post by Michael Clair at Baseball Prospectus, and everyone knew what had to happen next. Right-hander Dan Haren ordered shirts made, reporter Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post said. Obviously, it's been the talk of the Nationals clubhouse. Via the Washington Times:
The pitchers, who listen to McCatty trash talk them an awful lot, were thoroughly enjoying the entire thing.
McCatty, a former pitcher for the A’s, tried to let it roll off his back.
“I took the picture,” he said with a shrug.
“I could’ve done without that revelation,” quipped manager Davey Johnson.
McCatty "took the picture" himself? My money was on Rick Langford or Mike Norris.
Johnson later praised McCatty's 1984 body as "that good," along with the fact that McCatty had hair — two other revelations the skipper had been ignorant of. Some of the other comments were more complimentary:
“It’s pretty incredible,” Ryan Zimmerman said of the shirts. “It’s a perfect T-shirt, and what a picture. It’s one of the better T-shirts I’ve seen in the eight years I’ve seen them made.”
So, Invader Zim monitors T-shirt production lines when not manning the hot corner? (He probably means the other silly shirts that major leaguers have made to amuse themselves.)
“Utter joy. This is the best day of my life.” — Tyler Clippard, while wearing [the T-shirt]
Finally, there was this reaction:
“I threw up. I sent out a big group text to everyone. I think Cat’s pretty embarrassed.” – Jordan Zimmermann
McCatty hasn't been worked over this much since Billy Martin famously, if allegedly, overexerted the Oakland Athletics starting pitching staff in the early '80s. Speaking of which, look who else got the "Playgirl" treatment from the A's:
Rickey Henderson's scouting report should say "Has Bo Jackson thighs."
Check out the rest of Clair's post. It's a keepsake, even if it refers to George Brett's butt as "flat."