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Exhibition Baseball Americana

Bob Dylan (b. 1941) and Jacques Levy (1935–2004). “Catfish,” 1975. Sheet music. Music Division, Library of Congress (048.00.00)

Bob Dylan and “Catfish”

Jim “Catfish” Hunter, the first modern major league player to cash in as a free agent, was an unusual subject for a Bob Dylan song. Nonetheless, Dylan chronicled Hunter’s rise from a country boy to “a million dollar man” smoking cigars and wearing alligator boots. He also commented on the pitcher’s proficiency: “Reggie Jackson at the plate/Seein’ nothin’ but the curve/Swing too early or too late/Got to eat what Catfish serve.” Joe Cocker covered the song in 1976, but Dylan’s version was not released until 1991.