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Fred Clarke

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Fred Clifford Clarke

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10½", Weight 165 lb.

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1945

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[edit] Biographical Information

"Are you going to take that?" - player-manager Fred Clarke to the young Honus Wagner, who had been knocked around on the basepaths by the 19th Century Baltimore Orioles, thus inducing Wagner the next time to blast right through fielders blocking his path
Fred Clarke.jpg

Hall of Famer Fred Clarke played 21 seasons in the majors and also managed for 19 seasons (starting at age 24). As a player his career batting average was .312, and as a manager his winning percentage was .576. Although a worthy Hall of Famer, his career was overshadowed by that of Honus Wagner, who was his teammate from 1897 until 1915. Of course, as a manager, he was very fortunate to have Wagner as a player.

Clarke was considered a tough competitor, an aggressive baserunner, and a manager who communicated a positive attitude to his players.

Clarke rarely led the league in offensive categories, partly because Wagner was doing it a lot. However, Clarke's 160 point score on the Gray Ink test shows that he was frequently in the top ten in the league. And he had staying power - in 1895 he hit .347, and sixteen years later in 1911 he hit .324.

He never led the league in batting, but he was second twice, once behind Wagner, and once (when Wagner was a rookie) behind Willie Keeler.

The most similar player to Clarke is George Van Haltren, not a Hall of Famer. However, 8 of the 10 most similar players are in the Hall, with the most similar Hall of Famer being his contemporary Jesse Burkett. Clarke, though, played more of his career in the dead-ball era than Burkett did. And Clarke was also a long-time manager with a high winning percentage and several National League titles to his credit.

He spent the majority of his playing career as a player-manager. He was skipper of the Louisville Colonels from 1897 to 1899 and moved on to the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1900 to 1915. With the Pirates he won four National League pennants and captured the 1909 World Series title. He also played and managed in the first World Series, in 1903, although he ended up on the losing side. He later returned to the Pirates as a coach in 1925 and 1926.

His brother Josh Clarke was his teammate at one point. He was also the brother-in-law of Chick Fraser. His first Baseball Card appearance was the 1903 E107 Breisch Williams.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • NL Slugging Percentage Leader (1903)
  • NL OPS Leader (1903)
  • NL Doubles Leader (1903)
  • NL Triples Leader (1906)
  • NL Bases on Balls Leader (1909)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 5 (1897-1899, 1901 & 1902)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 2 (1897 & 1899)
  • 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 1 (1897)
  • Won a World Series with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1909
  • NL Pennants: 4 (1901-1903 & 1909)
  • Managed one World Series Champion with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1909
  • 100 Wins Seasons as Manager: 2 (1902 & 1909)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1945

Preceded by
Jim Rogers
Louisville Colonels Manager
Succeeded by
last manager
Preceded by
Patsy Donovan
Pittsburgh Pirates Manager
Succeeded by
Nixey Callahan

[edit] Year-By-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1897 Louisville Colonels National League 35-54 11th Louisville Colonels replaced Jim Rogers (17-24) on June 16
1898 Louisville Colonels National League 70-81 9th Louisville Colonels
1899 Louisville Colonels National League 75-77 9th Louisville Colonels
1900 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 79-60 2nd Pittsburgh Pirates
1901 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 90-49 1st Pittsburgh Pirates League Champs
1902 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 103-36 1st Pittsburgh Pirates League Champs
1903 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 91-49 1st Pittsburgh Pirates Lost World Series
1904 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 87-66 4th Pittsburgh Pirates
1905 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 96-57 2nd Pittsburgh Pirates
1906 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 93-60 3rd Pittsburgh Pirates
1907 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 91-63 2nd Pittsburgh Pirates
1908 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 98-56 2nd Pittsburgh Pirates
1909 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 110-42 1st Pittsburgh Pirates World Series Champs
1910 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 86-67 3rd Pittsburgh Pirates
1911 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 85-69 3rd Pittsburgh Pirates
1912 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 93-58 2nd Pittsburgh Pirates
1913 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 78-71 4th Pittsburgh Pirates
1914 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 69-85 7th Pittsburgh Pirates
1915 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 73-81 5th Pittsburgh Pirates

[edit] Records Held

  • Hits, in first game, 5, 6/30/1894

[edit] Further Reading

  • Ronald T. Waldo: Fred Clarke: A Biography of the Baseball Hall of Fame Player-Manager, McFarland, 2011. ISBN 978-0-7864-5933-9

[edit] Related Sites

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