The Legend of Skeeter Duffy

Posted on November 22, 2017

The picture that started it all: Matt Duffy plays Call of Duty with his cat Skeeter, his tactical field advisor, in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

 

November 22, 2017 San Francisco Chronicle story by Henry Schulman about Skeeter’s passing.

Matt Duffy called him a “member of the family” on Instagram. Tom Duffy called him a “special creature” on Twitter. Erin Duffy called him “my boy” on Instagram.¬†Sports Illustrated called him a “baseball icon” on Twitter. San Francisco Giants beat writer Henry Schulman called him the “First Cat of San Francisco baseball” in the San Francisco Chronicle. Cathy Duffy called him “our beautiful Skeetie Boy.”

On Saturday night, November 18, 2017 the Duffy family had to say goodbye to their 15-year-old cat Skeeter in Long Beach, California. The longtime Duffy family pet had been sick and not feeling well. After a trip to the vet it was evident that Skeeter was not coming home. Pets become part of the family and when we lose them it is a crushing blow. But Skeeter was different. He didn’t just belong to the Duffy family. Skeeter belonged to baseball fans everywhere, and San Francisco Giants fans especially, after he burst on the scene during his big brother Matt Duffy’s breakout rookie season in San Francisco in 2015.

Instagram post from Matt Duffy announcing Skeeter’s passing on November 19, 2017. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Instagram post from Erin Duffy announcing Skeeter’s passing on November 19, 2017.

Tom Duffy paid tribute to Skeeter on Twitter.

Matt’s father Tom Duffy is an incredibly talented amateur photographer who documented Matt’s journey from Little League to the Big Leagues with his cameras. Tom loved photographing his son Matt and his daughter Erin when they were younger, but once they left the house he needed a willing subject to pose for his camera and iPhone. The willing victim? The family cat who ran the household. The cat who was always the center of attention. The wonderfully photogenic Skeeter. Once Tom discovered Skeeter’s prowess as a subject he could not stop photographing him. Skeeter had a way of staring into the camera with his big green eyes. He looked right into your soul. He was a great model,” said Tom.

Once Tom started photographing Skeeter with his iPhone he couldn’t stop, and soon his iPhone would crash because the hard drive was so full of pictures that he would have to beg his wife Cathy to use her iPhone if Skeeter was sitting in some great light and a picture could not be missed.

Little did Tom know that his photographic skills would help make Skeets a “baseball icon.” On April 3, 2015 Tom texted me the now iconic photograph of his son Matt playing Call of Duty with Skeeter. I was immediately drawn into Skeeter’s eyes, the look on his face, and the juxtaposition between him and Matt. This picture was amazing. Since it was not my picture I kept it private, with the exception of showing it to my co-author of three books about the Giants winning three World Series championships Brian Murphy. Murph casually mentioned the picture on his morning radio show on KNBR, the Giants 50,000-watt flagship station of the Giants. He described the picture and I immediately starting getting Tweets from listeners wanting to see the picture. Tom agreed that I could share it on social media, but we decided to wait a week or so till the Giants home opener on April 13. I warned Tom that the Internet loves cats and that this would go viral and be picked up everywhere. Little did we know how truly famous Skeeter would become.

Within 24 hours the picture of Skeeter and Matt was shown on ESPN and the MLB Network. It was also featured on YAHOO! Sports and other media outlets. #Skeetermania was born.

This tweet by @bradmangin on April 13, 2015, the morning of the Giants home opener, started Skeetermania.

The Instagram post from Matt Duffy that fanned the flames of Skeetermania on April 15, 2015. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter’s dad Tom Duffy loved to photograph the family feline. Tom also liked to have fun with Photoshop. (Photo Illustration by Tom Duffy)

The original photograph of Matt and Skeeter spawned numerous funny memes and parodies like this one in the San Francisco Chronicle in August of 2015. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

The original photograph of Matt and Skeeter spawned numerous funny memes and parodies like this original artwork by @iamjerklord.

The original photograph of Matt and Skeeter spawned numerous funny memes and parodies like this one found on Twitter many times in 2015.

The original photograph of Matt and Skeeter spawned numerous funny memes and parodies like this one by @undrlnd in 2015.

The original photograph of Matt and Skeeter spawned numerous funny memes and parodies like this one by @undrlnd to celebrate Bruce Lee Night in 2015.

The original photograph of Matt and Skeeter spawned numerous funny memes and parodies like this one by @undrlnd to celebrate the Giants visit to the White House in 2015.

The original photograph of Matt and Skeeter spawned numerous funny memes and parodies like this one by @LOLKNBR to celebrate the Giants trip to the White House in 2015.

It wasn’t long before the original image of Skeeter was cropped out of the picture and dropped into some hilarious memes featuring the large orange tabby staring blankly into the camera while sitting in various funny situations. In June Matt posted a new picture with Skeeter on Instagram (see below) and this gave creative artists like¬†@undrlnd something new to work with. They wasted no time!

This Instagram post by Matt Duffy featuring him and Skeeter in the family’s Long Beach, California home spawned a new batch of funny memes and parodies. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

The Instagram of Matt and Skeeter spawned numerous funny memes and parodies like this one by @undrlnd of Matt and Skeeter in the Giants dugout in 2015.

The Instagram of Matt and Skeeter spawned numerous funny memes and parodies like this one by @undrlnd in 2015.

The Instagram of Matt and Skeeter spawned numerous funny memes and parodies like this one by @undrlnd in 2015.

In the summer of 2015 Skeeter was the big cat who kept on giving, thanks to new pictures by Tom that would surface from time to time. This new one seen below of Skeets sprawled out on the floor of his Long Beach, California home was so well received the Giants started featuring it on the scoreboard in August whenever Matt would get a big RBI hit. Next to the words “This is how we do it” Skeeter would sing the song with a human mouth and the fans ate it up. It even made Matt laugh (see video with Marty Lurie from KNBR below).

This photograph of Skeeter sprawled out on the floor of his Long Beach, California home spawned a new batch of funny memes, signs, and parodies. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

The photograph of Skeeter sprawled out on the floor of his Long Beach, California home spawned a new batch of funny memes, signs, and parodies like this one at a Giants game in September of 2015. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

The photograph of Skeeter sprawled out on the floor of his Long Beach, California home spawned a new batch of funny memes, signs, and parodies like this one by @undrlnd in 2015.

The photograph of Skeeter sprawled out on the floor of his Long Beach, California home spawned a new batch of funny memes, signs, and parodies and really blew up when the Giants started putting it on the scoreboard in August of 2015 when Matt Duffy would get a big hit to drive in a run. Skeeter’s mouth would move as he sang “This is how we do it.” (Photo via Twitter)

The photograph of Skeeter sprawled out on the floor of his Long Beach, California home spawned a new batch of funny memes, signs, and parodies and really blew up when the Giants started putting it on the scoreboard in August of 2015 when Matt Duffy would get a big hit to drive in a run. Skeeter’s mouth would move as he sang “This is how we do it.” (Photo Brad Mangin)

The photograph of Skeeter sprawled out on the floor of his Long Beach, California home spawned a new batch of funny memes, signs, and parodies and was featured on the scoreboard at PETCO Park in San Diego on 1970’s throwback day. (Photo via Twitter)

On September 1, 2015 Skeeter went through an afternoon that only a professional athlete like Matt would understand. It was Skeeter Media Day in Long Beach as I visited the Duffy house along with San Francisco Giants team photographer Andy Kuno and friend Rob Bingham to meet Skeeter in person for the first time and photograph him. I am sure it was a bit overwhelming for Skeets to have us invading his home turf with our cameras and iPhones following his every move. Adding to the madness was Tom shooting pictures of us shooting Skeeter. It was hysterical! I must say walking into the house and seeing Skeeter in person for the first time was surreal. I felt like I already knew him through all the pictures and fanfare but there he was for real, and he was really just a normal cat. Kind of.

Brad Mangin poses with Skeeter while Tom Duffy photographs the scene from behind on Skeeter Media Day in Long Beach, California on September 1, 2015. (Photo by Andy Kuno)

Skeeter poses on Skeeter Media Day in Long Beach, California on September 1, 2015. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Skeeter poses on Skeeter Media Day in Long Beach, California on September 1, 2015. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Andy Kuno meets Skeeter in his Long Beach, California home on September 1, 2015. (Photo by Rob Bingham)

One of the major accomplishments of Skeeter Media Day was Matt’s sister Erin hanging out with us and deciding that it was the perfect time to start Skeeter’s official Instagram account @duffcat35. The post below was Skeeter’s first post to the world and it was an instant hit with his fans. You can see a few more of his posts below.

Skeeter made his first Instagram post from Skeeter Media Day in Long Beach, California on September 1, 2015. (Photo by Erin Duffy)

Skeeter’s Instagram account shared many behind the scenes images of his life in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter’s Instagram account shared many behind the scenes images of his life in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter’s Instagram account shared many behind the scenes images of his life in Long Beach, California. Here is Skeeter with his good friend Mac Williamson. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter’s Instagram account shared many behind the scenes images of his life in Long Beach, California. Here he is sayin g goodbye to Matt Duffy as Matt heads to spring training. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter’s Instagram account shared many behind the scenes images of his life in Long Beach, California. Here he is hanging out with Tom and Matt Duffy. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Matt Duffy and Skeeter were featured on t-shirts made and sold by Sports Swag in 2015.

Norichika Aoki shows off his Matt Duffy and Skeeter t-shirt in the Giants dugout after a September 2015 game with Tom Duffy. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

More Skeeter fun from @undrlnd in 2015.

More Skeeter fun from @undrlnd in 2015.

More Skeeter fun from @undrlnd in 2015.

More Skeeter fun from @undrlnd in 2016.

The Giants used Skeeter on Twitter after Matt hit a home run on opening day in 2016.

Skeeter fun on Twitter from Mangoman in 2015.

Skeeter had fans in Phoenix at this Giants and Diamondbacks game in 2015.

Fans all over fell in love with Skeeter.

After seeing all the fun memes and parodies above you realize how popular Skeeter was with the fans. He was such a fixture that in 2016 when Major League Baseball rolled out official emojis for players the Matt Duffy emoji included Skeeter (see below).

In 2016 Matt Duffy and Skeeter got their own emoji together.

In 2016 Matt Duffy and Skeeter got their own emoji together.

Skeeter lays with some Matt’s baseball gear in his Long Beach, California house in 2016. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Matt Duffy enjoys IN-N-OUT Burger while Skeeter waits patiently for scraps in Long Beach, California in 2015. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter is excited to see Matt Duffy in Long Beach, California in 2015. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Matt Duffy and Skeeter in Long Beach, California in 2016. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter lays on Tom as they watch TV on the floor of their Long Beach, California house in 2016. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter hangs out by the Christmas tree in Long Beach, California in 2015. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter lays with some Christmas lights in his Long Beach, California house in 2015. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter loves his sister Erin Duffy in Long Beach, California on December 24, 2015. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter watches his sister Erin Duffy in Long Beach, California in 2015. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter welcomes Erin home to Long Beach, California after an accident in November of 2016. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter and Tom Duffy in Long Beach, California in 2016. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter in Long Beach, California in 2016. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter watches his sister Lindsey eat in the kitchen of their Long Beach, California house in 2016. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter in the kitchen in Long Beach, California in 2016. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter greets Erin Duffy and Brad Mangin in Long Beach, California in January of 2017. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter helps Cathy Duffy work at home on January 19, 2017. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Matt Duffy and Skeeter in Long Beach, California on January 27, 2017. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter poses for a portrait in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter is Bat Cat in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter poses for a portrait in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter poses for a portrait in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter basks in the window light in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter hangs out on the floor watching baseball with Tom in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Skeeter sleeps in Long Beach, California on November 7, 2017. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Original artwork of Matt and Skeeter by a fan.

Original artwork of Matt and Skeeter by a fan.

This is the way we will all remember Skeeter. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

Twitter confused Skeeter with a mountain lion.

This is how Skeeter loved spending most of his time the past few years, hanging out at home in Long Beach with family.

Brad Mangin and Skeeter visit in Long Beach, California on January 13, 2017. (Photo by Tom Duffy)

By now you know that Skeeter was not an ordinary house cat. The amazing story is Skeeter was one of four feral kittens that Cathy Duffy rescued and personally cared for and trained in the Duffy backyard for weeks until they were ready for a home. They adopted out two of the kittens and kept Skeeter and his sister Lindsey. Tom says Skeeter was the first one to mellow and adjust to people.

The Duffy house will be much quieter now with Skeeter gone. “Everything in the house revolved around Skeeter. He was always there at the front door when you got home. He was always around because he loved people, even strangers,” Tom said. The Duffy family was kind enough to share Skeeter with all of us. We are all feeling the loss of Skeeter, and it is evident by thousands of comments on Instagram and Twitter.

We will miss you Skeets, but all of our lives are greater for having you with us. Our ride with you was fun and organic and real. It just happened and that is why it was so great.

#RIPSkeeter #Skeetermania #RallySkeeter #mattduffyscat #duffcat #rallycat

What Others Are Saying

  1. Cooper Neill December 9, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    This is a great story, thanks for sharing, Brad!

  2. Pingback: Blood Brothers: Skeeter and Hoosier - Mangin Photography Archive

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