BALTIMORE -- It was the caption that caught Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph's eye: "One-armed catcher." Messing around on his phone in the home clubhouse at Camden Yards earlier this season, Joseph couldn't stop replaying the Twitter video of Luke Terry, his excitement growing with each loop. How is he doing
BALTIMORE -- It was the caption that caught Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph's eye: "One-armed catcher." Messing around on his phone in the home clubhouse at Camden Yards earlier this season, Joseph couldn't stop replaying the Twitter video of Luke Terry, his excitement growing with each loop. How is he doing this?
Joseph was still in awe Wednesday as he recounted what it was like to get a firsthand glimpse of the 14-year-old Terry in action behind home plate.
"He catches it, tosses it in mid-air and drops the glove," Joseph said, his eyes bulging. "It's a fluid motion, too. He's obviously done this thousands of times."
Terry, whose right arm was amputated when he was an infant, flew to Baltimore from Cornersville, Tenn., to partake in a pregame clinic with Joseph, catcher Welington Castillo and bench coach John Russell before the Orioles' 5-1 loss to the Indians. After receiving a pitch, Terry tosses the ball up, drops his glove and in one motion snags the ball and tosses it back.
"To be honest, I had to really fight back some tears. I'm a dad now, I have a 2-year-old," said Joseph, who lives about 30 minutes away from Terry in Nashville. "I would hope that if [my son] was faced with the same type of circumstances, that he wouldn't give up, that he would pursue the game that he loves just as Luke loves it."
Joseph also drew on his own career to relate with Terry.
"I played four years of Double-A and I was close to giving up. I was making no money, really struggling at the time to put food on the table," Joseph said. "Thankfully I had a lot of people breathing confidence into my life, and I'm sure Luke's had that his whole life, too. And that's really special."
Joseph thought back to his days working with Russell in the Minor Leagues as Russell had Terry work through some catching drills. They went over proper catching stance and how to put a backspin on throws to second and third.
"I used to catch the ball, take my glove off, put it on the ground and pick the ball up, but that was too slow," Terry said. "I was in my backyard one day, and I was doing something, and I did that. ... Over the years I've just perfected it."
Terry's day didn't end with the clinic. With a smile stretched across his face, he crouched down at home plate one more time to catch the ceremonial first pitch from Hall of Famer and Orioles great Jim Palmer. Terry's return throw went to Russell.
Later, cameras spotted Terry sitting next to a boy from Iowa during the game. The boy, like Terry, doesn't have a right arm.
He, too, is a catcher.
Joshua Needelman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington.