Friday, November 20, 2009

Back on Topps' radar: Jerry McNertney

Here's one for WhiteSoxCards:

Jerry McNertney (#14) started his career in 1958 with the White Sox organization as a first baseman and outfielder. It wasn't until 1961 that he began catching.

"Nert" made the big club in 1964 as the 3rd string catcher. In July, catcher Cam Carreon was injured and missed 2 months of the season, giving more playing time to McNertney, as the backup to veteran
J. C. Martin.

(Jerry appeared on an "American League Rookies" card in 1964, but I guess his 186 at-bats that season weren't enough to convince Topps to keep him around, as his next card wasn't until 1968.)

It was back to the minors in 1965, as Johnny Romano was acquired from the Indians and caught about 2/3 of the games, and newly-acquired Jimmie Schaffer filled the #3 spot. In 1966, Schaffer was out and McNertney was back, but still as the 3rd-string receiver.

His status remain unchanged in 1967, though rookie Duane Josephson had replaced the aging Johnny Romano. In 1968, Jerry worked his way up to 2nd-string catcher!

Jerry's big break came following the 1968 season, as he was drafted by the Seattle Pilots (To most players and fans, that hardly seems like good news!) Nert became the undisputed starting catcher for this collection of castoffs that was documented in great detail by Pilots' pitcher Jim Bouton in his book Ball Four.

The following season, the Pilots became the Milwaukee Brewers, and McNertney became the 2nd-string catcher, this time behind Phil Roof. After the season, he was traded to the Cardinals. Jerry bounced around to the Athletics and Pirates, until getting his release from the Pirates in mid-1973.

Here's a road map to the White Sox' catching department back in the day:

2 comments:

White Sox Cards said...

I love the chart of the breakdown of the catching duties in the mid-sixties!

Jim from Downingtown said...

WSC,

I've got another one further down on this blog under Roger Maris:

http://1968topps.blogspot.com/2009/10/final-card-roger-maris.html