Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Meet the Characters: Christy Matthewson, Marty Hoover, and Jimmy Effin' Jefferson

Sega CD Summer is out! This is the final entry in my Meet the Characters Series

I'll round out my look at the different characters of Sega CD Summer with three from the supporting cast. Each plays an important role in the novel, even if they don't necessarily get a whole lot of "screen" time.

Christy Matthewson is featured the most of the three. She shares a few scenes with Tommy. A talented athlete, Christy has a cannon for an arm and is the fastest player on the team. She hits for average and power as well and has no trouble keeping up with the boys. She plays shortstop, the most challenging position in the infield, and also pitches.

As Tommy is twelve years old and approaching adolescence, he's developed a little bit of a crush on Christy. It's strange for him because they've spent years together playing baseball and occasionally hanging out. He tries to navigate these strange waters during the summer.

Christy herself is intelligent and quick-witted. While no real romantic subplot exists in the book, her relationship with Tommy is about as close as things come. She's fond of calling him "Clopper" because of his unorthodox (and loud) running style.

Late in the book--right before the all-important baseball tournament--something happens to Christy that forces a lineup change, providing yet another obstacle for Tommy and his team, Williamsburg Red.

Marty Hoover is another of Tommy's teammates. He primarily plays third base, although he mans shortstop when Christy pitches. A good kid who tries hard, Marty can never do enough to please Swearin' Sammy Reed.

Seriously, Marty could go five-for-five with four home runs and nine RBIs, and Swearin' Sammy would bring up the one at-bat in which he didn't go yard. There's just something about Marty, through no fault of his own, that rubs the coach the wrong way.

It doesn't help that Marty consistently fails to get in front of groundballs during practices, something that drives Swearin' Sammy absolutely insane. He insists Hoover is named after a vacuum cleaner (he is not) and trots out one of his favorite baseball axioms: "You're ten times bigger than that ball! That ball can't hurt you!"

The final player I'll introduce you to is Jimmy Jefferson.

When I played youth baseball, every player had to play at least an inning in the field and get one at-bat. It was that way from the Pee Wee level all the way up through Majors. And some players just weren't as talented as the others.

This didn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to play ball, of course, and that's why the rule existed. Coaches who failed to make sure all their players appeared in the game would be forced to forfeit.

Jimmy Jefferson, often called "Jimmy Effin' Jefferson" by Swearin' Sammy, was the last kid on the bench. He showed up at every practice, did all the drills, and worked as hard as anyone. It's just that he wasn't very good at anything. He had a noodle arm and poor hand-eye coordination, making him a liability in the field and at the plate.

Coaches usually tried to hide Jimmy in right field. Because most hitters were right-handed and tended to pull the ball to left field, putting him in right reduced his chances of having to make a play. You also hoped he didn't have to step up to the plate at a key moment because he would probably strike out.

The thing that's great about players like Jimmy Effin' Jefferson is that sometimes they surprise you.