We’ve all heard the phrase “the tools of ignorance” applied to catcher’s gear. But never has “fashion plate” been applied in describing a catcher’s attire, although in the case of this photo, “fashionable behind the plate” would be most applicable.
It must have been difficult for Colt batter Mark Sato to keep his eye on this pitch while catcher John Perata’s neon plaid pants were undulating in the background. As the immortal baseball announcer Harry Caray was fond of saying, “Holy Cow!”
Actually, the suave Longfellow backstop was not alone in his bold “Pumas and Plaid” ensemble. Our mid-1970’s photo archive is loaded with other GQ statements being made on the diamonds of Alameda. (Just wait till you see our photo of Chris “The Alameda Rifle” Speier and Giants teammate John D’Aquisto in their sport jackets while attending one of the annual ARPD Baseball Awards Banquets. Somebody call the fashion police!)
Unfortunately, we don’t know the outcome of this PeeWee League duel held at Lincoln Park. However, we do know that this photo graced the cover of the weekly PlayBall! supplement on August 13, 1974. Mr. Perata was also featured in two additional center spread photos! I guess that would make John the first PlayBall! Batterymate centerfold.