Anyone who knew me as a preteen had no doubts that my allegiance belonged to Carlton Fisk. I was obsessed. In Little League I strolled up to the plate, put my right foot in the box, held my bat up in front of me and inspected the barrel just as I had seen him do so many times before. Once satisfied that I had copied every one of his mannerisms, I got into the same closed stance Fisk employed while he was still with the Sox. Besides occupying center stage on the pedestal of my youth, Carlton Fisk also played talent blocker and dream crusher for a slew of talented young backstops in the Red Sox organization during the 1970's. Mike O'Berry was one such victim.
A native Alabamian, Mike O'Berry attended the University of Southern Alabama where he was spotted by Milt Bolling and picked by the Sox in the second round of the 1975 draft. Once in the Red Sox farm system O'Berry joined Tim Blackwell, Andy Merchant, Ernie Whitt, Bo Diaz and Gary Allenson in a frustrating game of waiting and wishing. Besides Allenson, O'Berry and the rest of the bunch found that the only path to the show was to move on from the organization. And move on he did! After exiting Boston, O'Berry suited up for the Cubs, Reds, Angels, Yankees and Expos. Five years later and out of options, O'Berry hung them up and gave coaching a try, first in the Orioles' farm system and then back home in Alabama at Pelham High School. It was as a high school coach that O'Berry experienced his greatest baseball success, turning a struggling program into a nationally ranked team.
22 bats down 61 to go.