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The legend of Joey Gathright

09.01.09 at 8:33 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Joey Gathright was called up to the Red Sox Tuesday. He figures to pinch-run and play a little backup outfield. Certainly nothing that would elicit a full 10 minutes of media back and forth.

But Gathright — a 28-year-old who hasn’t been able to establish himself as a major league regular since coming on the scene in 2004 — is more than just another innocuous Sept. call-up. Besides being the one to have set former Red Sox pitcher Julian Tavarez off into a slap-fight frenzy in spring training of 2007, Gathright’s claim to fame can be found courtesy You Tube.

See for yourself…

That’s right. Gathright can jump over cars.

The You Tube video of the outfielder leap-frogging an automobile was filmed during the Tampa Bay Rays’ 2002 spring training and had (as of Tuesday night) received 699,881 views. Gathright, however, insists he doesn’t know how the video ended up on the site for public consumption.

“I was doing it for fun and one day my boy filmed it,” Gathright said. “He didn’t even know how it got released, but one day it ended up on You Tube and now you see everybody else trying it. I think everybody thought I put it out there, but it wasn’t me. I don’t want anybody getting hurt, but that’s the funniest thing, watching other people try to do it.”

As impressive as the video version was, it wasn’t the most impressive car-jump executed by Gathright. That might have come during his very first try and accomplishing the feat while waiting for his mother to pick him up after football practice as a 10th grader.

According to Gathright, the initial leap over any car was managed while wearing Timberland work boots and baggy pants. And, just for good measure, it was a sizable Lincoln Town Car that he hurdled.

“I just stood up, tried it and I made it,” said Gathright, who said he long-jumped 23 feet in eighth grade. “We were just waiting after football practice. Nobody knew I was doing it. But then I started running and they started paying attention. Everybody went crazy. I didn’t tell anybody. I just tried it.

“That’s happened a few times. I haven’t made money off it. I wish I would have, but nothing’s come along.”

For now, Gathright will have to make his money riding out the final month of the season with the Red Sox. His athleticism — which was measured via a 4.23 40-yard dash in high school — figures to be his biggest attribute. He has averaged 30 stolen bases per 162 games while playing most part-time throughout his 428-game major league career.

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