No. 125 Fred Clarke (Number 12 Left Field)

Fred Clarke hit 2 homeruns in the 1909 World Series after hitting 3 the whole season. He was getting old but still had a good offensive season. He walked 80 times to get on base a lot and scored 97 runs. That was an accomplishment in 1909. In the World Series he hit a homer in game 1 to tie the game, a game the Pirates went on to win. In game 5 Clarke hit a 3-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to put Pittsburg up 6-3. The Pirates won that game and game 7 to win the series. In game 7 Clarke didn’t have an at bat as he walked 4 times and had a sacrifice. He drove in a run with one of his walks and scored 2 runs.

I was going to say Clarke wasn’t a slugger, but he led the league in slugging once and in OPS plus twice. That was hard to do as he was on the team with Honus Wagner who led the league in OPS plus 8 times.

Clarke not only played with Wagner he managed him for years. Clarke managed the team for 19 years. He retired as a player in 1911. He put himself in the lineup every year from 1913 to 1915 just long enough for him to figure why he retired. Clarke’s team faded to about a .500 team his last three years. That is what happens when your two best players (Wagner and Clarke) get old.

Amazingly Clarke wasn’t fired. He resigned. He was so beloved they threw him a day. Of course, a lot of ball players had days thrown for them in the old days.

In 1925 Clarke came back as head scout or assistant manager. This wouldn’t have been easy for the Manager Bill McKechnie. However, it worked in 1925. The two got along and the Pirates won the pennant and World Series. Both being the first for the team since the 1909 series.

However, in 1926 there was some problems. Some of the players including Max Carey claimed that Clarke was second guessing and giving players contradictory orders from McKechnie. It was also said Clarke said that Carey should be replace. It is hard to tell what really happened as the biographies of Carey and Clarke have different views of the situation. Carey was but on waivers and went to Brooklyn. However, he was an older player who all the sudden had a really bad year. If Clarke wanted him to be replaced it was not without reason.

Babe Adams and Carson Bigbee were released. Adams was 44 and he retired. Bigbee was 31, played backup left field and wasn’t hitting. No one picked him up and he never played in the majors again. Clarke had enough with the whole situation and went back home where he enjoyed his retirement.

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2 thoughts on “No. 125 Fred Clarke (Number 12 Left Field)

  1. About throwing “days” for old ballplayers. I wonder if Hal Chase was ever thrown a day by the fans – seems only fair!😉

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