Ernie and Buck

BaseballReading about South Korea's victory over the United States at the 2006 World Baseball Classic, I came across a quote from USA manager Buck Martinez regarding Hee-Seop Choi's three-run homer. It was only then that I realized our two catchers for much of the 80s were well represented in this tournament. Team Canada was coached by Ernie Whitt.

Martinez, in the twilight of his career, was a solid back up to Ernie Whitt who was enjoying some all-star seasons behind the plate for our Toronto Blue Jays. I remember that year Martinez got run over blocking the plate but still managed to fire a bullet to second base. He was out for the year and the strip in the top left corner of this page in my scrapbook shows BJ Birdy protecting Whitt from the same fate.

Ernie and Buck were quite the team, second only to Rance and Garth. Whitt was Ryan's favourite Blue Jay of all, and I once shared this great story about him misinterpreting an Exhibition Stadium chant. I can still hear it now. "We want Whitt! We want Whitt!"

Ernie and Buck, together again.

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