They all see his right elbow is stuck at a slight angle, like the gentle bend of a tree branch. “You can’t not notice that,” Clippard said.
In 1981, McCatty finished second to Rollie Fingers in the American League Cy Young voting. He led the league in wins and posted a 2.33 ERA. He fired fastballs in the mid-90s and cut an imposing, 6-foot-3 figure. He threw 16 complete games. In his first six starts that season, McCatty pitched nine, nine, 10, nine, 92 / 3 and nine innings.
In spring training of 1982, McCatty began to feel nagging pain where his biceps met his right shoulder. His coaches asked him if he could pitch. “Yeah,” McCatty said. “I can pitch.”
Early that 1982 season, McCatty started against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Jim Rice stood in the on-deck circle, ready to lead off the second inning. He yelled at McCatty, “You’re not right.” McCatty glanced at him and yelled back, “I know.”
McCatty kept pitching. His fastball dropped into the low 80s. His ERA rose to 3.99. “It was terrible,” McCatty said. “It was the most frustrating year of my life, as far as playing. I wanted to go play so bad. It was really frustrating knowing that you could do things and now you weren’t capable of doing them.”