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David Clarkson

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David Clarkson (Clarko)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 2", Weight 225 lb.

[edit] Biographical Information

David Clarkson was a top Australian catcher in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Clarkson hit .322 in six Claxton Shields for Victoria in the 1980s. He debuted for the Australian national team in 1983. He represented Australia in the 1985 Intercontinental Cup and 1988 Olympics. When the Australian Baseball League was formed in 1989-1990, Clarkson put on a strong show, hitting .444/.500/.579 with 26 RBI in 38 games for the Waverley Reds. He led the league in average by 60 points over Jeff Kipila, was second in hits (56, one behind Pete Beeler), led in OBP (59 points ahead of Kipila) and was third in slugging (behind Randy Knorr and Kipila). He helped Waverley to the title. He was named the league's All-Star catcher, beating out Knorr. Only two players would post higher averages in the ABL's first ten-season run - John Jaha was one point higher in 1990-1991 and Brendan Kingman hit .487 in 1997-1998.

David fell to .370/.420/.504 in 1990-1991 and was named the second-team All-Star catcher behind Dave Nilsson. In 1991-1992, the big backstop batted only .207/.299/.324, followed by .263/.365/.387 for the 1992-1993 Reds. He batted .269/.286/.325 as the starting catcher for Australia in the 1993 Intercontinental Cup. He hit .276/.394/.421 in 1993-1994.

In the 1994 Baseball World Cup, the Melbourne native struggled, going 1 for 5 with a walk, two runs and two errors, backing up Scott Dawes. In the 1994-1995 ABL, he produced at a .302/.370/.536 rate with 10 home runs and 45 RBI in 60 games, fielding .994 as well. He was named second-team All-Star at DH, behind Stuart Thompson, while Nilsson was the first-team catcher. Clarkson was 5th in the ABL in RBI, behind Scott Metcalf, Nilsson, Ronny Johnson and Scott Tunkin, his first time among the leaders since the ABL's debut year.

Clarkson faded after that, hitting .298/.386/.433 for the Reds (now the Melbourne Reds) at age 34 in 1995-1996. He was batting only .213/.306/.295 in 1996-1997 when he retired mid-season, becoming a Reds coach. Overall, he had hit .300/.405/. in 342 games in the Australian Baseball League. At the end of the ABL's initial 10-year run, he was among the career leaders in average (tied for 18th with Jon Deeble and Paul Gonzalez), games played (19th), at-bats (1,061, 20th), hits (318, 18th, between Grant McDonald and Mat Buckley), RBI (197, 18th, between Greg Jelks and John Moore), OBP (11th, between Moore and Richard Vagg) and walks (142, 15th, between Paul Gorman and Jelks).

Clarkson was named to Victoria's Claxton Shield Team of the Century. In 2010, he won a higher honor, being named to the Baseball Australia Hall of Fame.

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