Derek Erdman’s portrait of the late catcher Darryl Porter is called “Snap Me Perfect”, a title culled from Porter’s 1984 autobiography of the same name. Will Leitch once cited the tome as “the first big grownup book I ever remember reading cover to cover” (presumably the Judy Blume collection was banned from the Mattoon public library). “I was deeply inspired by the book as a child, and I took it to youth group meetings through the beginning of high school, when I™d decided to become a youth minister. Later, I discovered women and alcohol and all the trappings and glories of a sinful life, and I kind of dropped the whole Christian thing, and I really haven™t given it much thought anymore, save for going to church with my family on holidays.”
Of course, we can still hold out hope for a spiritual awakening from Will later in life.
I was a little longer in the tooth than Leitch when I read “Snap Me Perfect” for the first time. Though I didn’t find it nearly as inspirational, at the very least I thought Porter’s story was superior to Chuck Colson’s “Born Again” if only because the former had more baseball content. Though I don’t actually believe in the afterlife, I do occasionally fantasize about a parallel to the baseball heaven supposedly populated by Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, headless Ted Williams, etc. ie. perhaps there’s a baseball purgatory where Porter, Eric Show, Ken Caminiti, Rod’s Scurry and Beck are chopping up lines while playing cards, ignoring Josh Hamilton’s Home Run Derby performance on a nearby battery powered TV.