As almost all boys do, James Augustus Hunter one day ran away from home. Predictably, he did not stay away from Hertford, N.C. long, and when he returned he had in hand a string of catfish. Ever since, Jimmy Hunter, who is now a 22-year-old right-hander with the Oakland Athletics, has been called Catfish. The name became a household word last week when Catfish pitched the American League's first regular-season perfect game in 46 years. The 4-0 win was all the more impressive since it was made at the expense of the slugging Minnesota Twins. After the game Catfish, who had never played in the minors, was razzed by a teammate. "If you'd had any experience," he said, "you might be pretty good by now." That hurt. Hunter, 3-2 this year, has managed to win 33 games while losing only 38 for the hapless A's. In the perfect game, which was watched by only 6,289 fans, Minnesota came close to a hit just once—a hard smash by Bob Allison in the fifth inning that was scooped up by Third Baseman Sal Bando. The rest was all Catfish. Relying mainly on a fast ball and slider, he struck out 11 batters. The last, Pinch Hitter Rich Reese, was the toughest. He fouled off five pitches before missing one to end the game. Flushed by the excitement of it all, Oakland Owner Charles Finley told Hunter he would increase his salary by $5,000 and Catcher Jim Pagliaroni's by $1,000 at a special home-plate ceremony before Saturday's game. Finley awarded the new contracts and Hunter was just as gracious. "Catching is 50% of the game," he said, and thereupon made a presentation of his own to Pagliaroni. It was a fancy gold watch, with an inscription that ended simply, "Thanks, Catfish."