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Cliff Chambers

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Clifford Day Chambers
(Lefty)

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[edit] Biographical Information

Before the 1942 season, the Chicago Cubs signed Lefty Chambers, a 20-year-old pitcher, as an amateur free agent off the campus of Washington State University. They assigned him to their Los Angeles Angels affiliate, where he got into one game; he also pitched that year for the Texas League Tulsa Oilers, where he won 6 and lost 7 with a 2.01 ERA before joining the United States Air Force in World War II.

Lefty was back in time for the 1946 season, and suited up with the PCL Los Angeles Angels again. This time around, he won 18 games, lost 15 and wound up with a 3.02 ERA. He was with the Angels again in 1947 and had his best year with a 24-9 record with a 3.40 ERA. The highlight of his season came when he pitched a shutout in the one-game playoff against the San Francisco Seals that determined the regular-season champions on September 29th. His next stop would be in the windy city for the 1948 season, where he lost a wheel and put up a 2 and 9 record with a 4.43 ERA for the Cubs. The Cubs then traded him along with Clyde McCullough to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Cal McLish and Frankie Gustine.

Chambers put up a 13-7 mark with a 3.96 ERA for the Pirates in 1949 but fell to a 12-15 record in 1950. He came back in 1951 with a 3-6 record, which was good enough to get him traded on June 15th, to the St. Louis Cardinals but not before he pitched what he calls the most memorable game of his career.

This is his memory of the game and the day: "A lot of us where fighting the flu that day. It was the second game of a doubleheader and I had spent the first game in the clubhouse sleeping. I was asked to start the second game and try to go a few innings." Lefty went the distance defeating the Boston Braves, 3-0 for the first no-hitter by a Pirates pitcher in 44 years, since Nick Maddox, in 1907.

Some time later, Lefty heard that teammate Ralph Kiner had remarked that it was the ugliest no-hitter he had ever seen. (Just for the record - in Kiner's 10-year major league career with the Pirates, Cubs and Indians, Lefty's was the "only" no-hitter that Kiner had ever participated in.) Lefty's response to Kiner's remarks where "I don't think there was anything ugly about it at all except that I walked eight. I was a hard-throwing lefthander and had very good stuff that day. There wasn't anything close to a base hit off me."

The trade turned out to the good for Chambers as he went ahead to win 11 games for the Cardinals in the second half of the 1951 season and finished with a career-high 14 victories. After two more years in St. Louis, Cliff retired during the 1954 season while with the PCL San Diego Padres.

After his retirement Cliff stated, "I had a college degree and figured it was time to get on with my life. I had married a Boise, Idaho girl and liked the city and have been here ever since. I was in the insurance business and then became a licensed certified financial planner."

The numbers show that Cliff's overall big league record is 48-53 in a career that spanned the years 1948-1953. He died in Idaho early in 2012.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (1950)

[edit] Sources

Baseball-Reference.com
Baseball Players of the 1950s
SABR MILB Database:page

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