An old Footeballer

There’s a few things you may or may not know about former Cubs catcher Barry Foote:

  • He was an everyday catcher for the Montreal Expos in the mid 1970s. Future Hall of Famer Gary Carter played in right field as a result.
  • He was traded to the Phillies for Tim Blackwell (another catcher), and then to the Cubs before the 1979 season.
  • While playing for the Cubs in the late 1970s, he once hit a home run out of Wrigley Field and onto Waveland Avenue. The ball landed in the street, bounced up and broke a second story window of a nearby building.
  • He rocked those light blue with white pinstripes in a way that no modern player could. Those seriously are my favorite Cub’s uniform. Says something about me, I suppose.
  • He suffered a back injury in 1980, and his catching duties were taken over by Tim Blackwell (who he had once been traded for).
  • He began the 1981 season in an 0-22 slump and was then traded to the Yankees. It was his first time in the American League, and for about a week and a half he was a home-run hitting machine. The players’ strike came later that season, but Foote wasn’t used too much afterward. He was on the Yankees’ roster for the 1981 World Series, but struck out in his only plate appearance in game Four.
  • He played in a handful of games for the Yankees in the 1982 season and was released on the last day of spring training in 1983. Over an 11-year career, he hit .230 and had a 2.4 WAR.

For somebody who didn’t play 11 minutes of professional baseball, at any level, I have to say he had an impressive career. And anyone who says otherwise should examine their own baseball career first.

I can’t find any record of Barry Foote having any nicknames, which seems hard to believe. “Big Foote” seems like a given, or maybe “Bare Foote” if you wanted to shorten up his first name. When he was on a hitting streak he could have been “Hot Foote,” and when he was on the DL he could be called “Tender Foote.” I can only hope that the baseball writers of his time seized on some of these possibilities. And there’s something about a Foote and 12 inches, but I’ll just leave that one alone in this space. He probably seized on that one, himself.

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