The Cy Young Catcher

The Cy Young Catcher

The Cy Young Catcher

The Cy Young Catcher


During fifteen seasons in the major leagues, Charlie O'Brien was battery-mate to thirteen pitchers who won the Cy Young Award, presented each year by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

To put that accomplishment in perspective, Hall of Fame catchers Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra each worked with only one Cy Young winner during their careers. Legendary hurlers caught by O'Brien include such greats as Roger Clemens, Dwight Gooden, Bret Saberhagen, and Steve Bedrosian.

O'Brien's The Cy Young Catcher, written with Doug Wedge, includes up-close views of the thirteen Cy Young Award-winning pitchers at their best... and occasionally at their worst.

O'Brien shares an inside perspective on how catchers talk to umpires, what it's like to be on the receiving end of a 90-mph fastball, and how it feels to be in a clutch situation when the World Series is on the line.
This authentic, down-to-earth memoir will not only delight baseball fans of all stripes, it will also provide keen insights into what separates the game's greatest competitors from the also-rans.


Charlie was an unbelievable catcher. Top notch. One of the best receivers I’ve
ever seen. He knew how to call a game, and Charlie would never get crossed
up—he was that good. You know, if he called for a slider and they threw a
fastball, he would catch it easy. Ninety-nine point ninety-nine percent of
catchers can’t do that. But, Charlie was just way ahead of most catchers in
the intellect part of the game, of calling a game, of knowing hitters’ weak
nesses. I can’t say enough about Charlie’s defensive capabilities.

—Bobby Cox

Some catchers play their entire careers and never catch a pitcher who’s won a Cy Young Award, a guy who’s been recognized as the best pitcher in his league. I spent fifteen seasons behind the plate in the Major Leagues, and I caught thirteen Cy Young Award winners: Pete Vuckovich, David Cone, Frank Viola, Dwight Gooden, Bret Saberhagen, John Smoltz, Steve Bedrosian, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Pat Hentgen, Roger Clemens, Chris Carpenter, and Jack McDowell. At one point, I had a four-year streak where I caught one of that year’s winners: Maddux in ’94 and ’95, Pat Hentgen in ’96, and Roger Clemens in ’97. And, I caught these guys in different situations. When I was in Atlanta, we were World Series champions. in New York, we finished dead last. We were so bad that one writer wrote a book about us and called us the worst team that money could buy. Sometimes, I worked with great managers. Guys like Bobby Cox. Dallas Green. Cito Gaston. Guys who treated their players like professionals. Guys who created a pleasant environment so everybody worked hard and put the team ahead of themselves. I also worked for managers who hollered and screamed, talked behind your back, talked shit about you in the papers. Sometimes, I caught pitchers at their peak. Guys like Maddux who were pitching as well as anybody has ever pitched. And, I worked with some talented guys who just hadn’t pulled it all together yet. Hadn’t figured out how to get hitters out consistently at the big league level. On . . .

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