Polman: For the love of Bateman, one man’s obsession with a catcher

From SABR member Jeff Polman at Crooked Scoreboard on March 7, 2016:

The question Ken Webster hears all the time, and the one he might hear forevermore, is this: “Why was John Bateman your favorite ballplayer?” He doesn’t have a good answer, other than the fact that Bateman was the Astros’ catcher when Ken was growing up in Port Arthur, TX in the ’60s. Ken always had dreams of becoming a catcher, so John Bateman became his favorite player. The more remarkable thing is that after 3585 plate appearances, a 77 OPS+, and half a century, he still is.

One of the many marvels of baseball is the way its treasure chest of history, statistics, and legend allows the average fan to experience and enjoy the game at any age and through any prism. For some, it’s collecting baseball cards. For others, bobbleheads. Or visiting each and every major-league park.

For Webster, artistic director of the Hyde Park Theatre in Austin, that prism has been an all-consuming passion for the career of Bateman, who lived just 56 years and died in 1996. Whether through sly, often hilarious daily Twitter posts in Bateman’s voice, or through his short stage shows paying homage to Bateman, or through his never-ending search for testimonials from still-living ex-Astros like Jimmy Wynn and Norm Miller, Webster’s lifelong tribute to his boyhood idol remains forever kindled.

Read the full article here: http://crookedscoreboard.com/john-bateman-ken-webster-catcher/

Originally published: March 8, 2016. Last Updated: March 8, 2016.