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John Clapp

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John Clapp.jpg

John Edgar Clapp

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 7", Weight 194 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

John Clapp NYPL.jpg
" . . . one of the greatest catchers that ever lived." - Al Spink, writing about John Clapp

John Clapp was a major leaguer for eleven seasons (counting the National Association) who moved around a lot, playing for eight different teams in that time. As a manager, he had the odd distinction of being a player-manager for six different teams in six different years. He also moved around on the field, playing mostly catcher but also appearing a lot in the three outfield positions and occasionally in the infield. He was an above-average hitter who drew more than the average number of walks.

Clapp began in baseball by playing for the amateur Middletown, OH and Ilion, NY teams in 1870.

Clapp was the manager of the 1872 Middletown Mansfields in his rookie year in the National Association at age 20. Of course, the team's average age was 21. The next year he joined the 1873 Philadelphia Athletics where he was the same age as Cap Anson. In 1874 he went on a European trip with the A's.

In the first year of the National League, 1876, he was a teammate of the 40-year-old Dickey Pearce. In 1878 he managed for the second time, and his main pitcher was The Only Nolan. He would manage a different team each year from 1878-1883 except in 1882 when he wasn't in the majors.

Pud Galvin was his main pitcher in 1879 with the Buffalo Bisons, in Pud's first full season in the majors. In 1881, The Only Nolan was on his team again. In 1883, Clapp let the young Buck Ewing do most of the catching, while he and John Humphries backed him up. Humphries had gone to college at Cornell University in Clapp's hometown of Ithaca, NY.

An 1886 New York Times article states that Clapp, of Ithaca, NY had been ill for a year but was applying for an umpiring job in the International League. Clapp had apparently done some previous umpiring, because he was listed as the umpire for an April 26, 1875 game of his own Athletics 1875 Athletics Centennials game.

John's brother Aaron Clapp was an above-average hitter in his one season in the majors, but had the misfortune to contend for the first base job of the 1879 Troy Trojans against another rookie, Dan Brouthers, who would become a Hall of Famer.

The similarity scores method considers the most similar player to John (through 2007), oddly enough, to be a player from the 1930s, Frankie Pytlak. The second-most similar player is a contemporary of Clapp's, a shortstop named John Peters.

Preceded by
N/A
New York Gothams Manager
1883
Succeeded by
Jim Price

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • NL bases on Balls Leader (1881)

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