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Bryan Clark

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1985 Topps #489 Bryan Clark

Bryan Donald Clark

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[edit] Biographical Information

Bryan Clark was drafted 226th overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1974 and proved pretty quickly in the minors that his control was very suspect. For example, in just his second year in the minors, he walked 138 batters in only 131 innings of work. Used mostly as a starter in the minors, he posted ERAs as high as 7.11 with a team in a season, and he walked over 100 batters four times. Even in his best season in the minors, one in which he went 14-5 with a 2.64 ERA for the Alexandria Mariners in 1979, he still walked 112 batters in 167 innings of work. However, he had an excellent fastball, and his pitching style made him a dead ringer for Vida Blue.

Although his minor league statistics were not too impressive, Clark still managed to make his Major League debut on April 11, 1981 at the age of 24 against the California Angels. Although he was technically a pitcher, he was used in a rather unorthodox way in his debut - the Seattle Mariners (who purchased him from the Pirates in 1978) used him as a pinch runner.

He spent the rest of his career trying to find his niche. He was used both as a starter and reliever throughout his career, with his best season being 1982, when he went 5-2 with a 2.75 ERA in 37 games, most of them in relief. He was considered to be on the verge of stardom at that point, but would never again match those numbers.

In 1983, he was traded from the Mariners to the Toronto Blue Jays for Barry Bonnell. Perhaps a game on August 19 against the Cleveland Indians shows just how poor his control could be at times. In just 2.2 innings of work, he managed to walk seven batters.

In the end, his career never really panned out. He posted a 20-23 record with a 4.15 ERA in 516+ innings of work, walking 261 and striking out 259. He was sixth in the league in wild pitches in 1981 with seven, and fourth in the league in wild pitches in 1983 with 10.

Statistically speaking, he is most similar to Rich Folkers, another left-hander with good stuff but control issues who was shuttled between the starting rotation and the bullpen, and the teammates that spent the most time with him were Dave Henderson, Jim Maler, Dave Edler and Bob Stoddard. He spent five professional seasons with each of them.

He played his final game on May 30, 1990 with the Mariners, who had reaquired him in December of 1989.

He pitched only one complete game shutout in his career, on September 25, 1982 against the Blue Jays. He gave up six hits, walked one and struck out two. Ironically, he would end up playing for the Blue Jays just a couple years after this game. He had a .965 fielding percentage. George Brett collected his 2000th hit off him. The numbers he wore were 48, 35, 43, 45 and 47.

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