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Vibert Ernesto Clarke

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In the 1955 treaty with Panama the United States agreed to provide increased funds for the use of territorial waters in the Canal Zone. That same year Panamanian born left-hander Vibert "Webbo" Clarke was signed as an amateur free agent by the Washington Senators. He had a very short stay, to be exact, from September 4 to 24, appearing in seven games with no decisions, pitching 21 innings and ending with a 4.64 ERA.

Toothpick Sam Jones and Clarke were teammates on the Negro American League Cleveland Buckeyes in 1947 when they won the pennant. Clarke went 11-2. The two reunited on the Panamanian pro team called the Spur Cola Colonites, after Clarke had previously pitched for Chesterfield. Clarke had been good enough in the Negro Leagues to pitch in the first 1946 East-West Game.

Webbo spent three years in white American pro ball, 1955 through 1957, showing up on the rosters of the Charlotte Hornets, Louisville Colonels, Minneapolis Millers, Springfield Giants and finishing up his minor league run in 1957 with the Dallas Eagles.

His best season was his first, 1955, when he went 16-12 with a 3.40 ERA for the Charlotte Team. Webbo's minor league work sheet shows during his short run he appeared in 106 games, pitching 580 innings and winning 30 while losing 44 for a 4.72 ERA. Webbo appeared in 22 games in the 1959 Mexican League with the Mexico City Reds, going 8-10 with a 3.785 ERA and an unsightly 121 walks in 151 1/3 innings.

One of the several players who made his way from the Caribbean and Panamanian winter leagues into professional baseball in the United States, Vibert died June 14, 1970, at age 42 at Cristobal in the Canal Zone.

[edit] Sources

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

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