Wednesday, October 23, 2013

SOME RESPECT FOR DAVID CLYDE...A "NOT SO" MISSING 1978 CARD

Many of you out there already know the messed up story of former #1 draft pick David Clyde.
If not, just read below to get an idea of how this young kid was mistreated by the Texas Rangers.
But first, even though I know that technically this wouldn't be considered a "missing" card as per MY criteria (a missing card of a player with substantial playing time the previous year), let's give David Clyde some respect and design a 1978 card for him.
As it turned out, he ended seeing the most playing time during any one season in his short career that year, but wasn't represented in that awesome '78 set since everyone, including Topps, pretty much cast him off for "dead" by then.
Sorry for the slightly grainy image. I stretched it as far as I could to use it for this design, but it was definitely the best image of him I could find in an Indians uniform.

Not really a "missing" card, but let's cut the guy a break.
Now, as for David Clyde:
A high school LEGEND out of Houston, Texas in the early 1970's, Clyde was the #1 pick overall in the 1973 baseball draft by the Texas Rangers after dominating the opposition.
During his senior year at Westchester High School, Clyde had an incredible record of 18–0, giving up only three earned runs in 148 innings pitched, while pitching five no-hitters and setting 14 national high school records.
Now, since the Rangers had the first pick in the draft, it was a match made in heaven, being able to draft THE top pitching prospect in the country, who just happened to be a "hometown" boy from Texas.
Clyde was garnering all sorts of media attention while mowing down high school opponents, and the Rangers, who were suffering BIG TIME as far as fan attendance was concerned, figured he'd be a fantastic draw, helping to "save" the organization.
After being selected first as expected, he was given a then record $125,000 signing bonus, as well as a free college education. The sky, it seemed, was the limit for the fire-balling young stud.
Sadly, this wasn't what the future held, as Rangers' management grossly mishandled the young player and pretty much destroyed his career before he even hit 20 years of age.
In one of the most awful cases of player abuse, Texas decided to have Clyde start his first Major League game literally days after graduating high school! Twenty days to be exact!
The thought process was to have Clyde start two games at the Major League level, THEN send him down to the Minors to get seasoned like any other young draftee.
Only problem was that Texas was so desperate for fans boosting attendance figures, that after seeing 35,000+ fans show up for Clyde's starts, the Rangers scrapped their initial plans and ended up having him start 18 games straight out of high school.
All told for 1973, David Clyde appeared in 18 Major League games, throwing 93.1 innings as an 18-year old, sporting a 4-8 record with a 5.01 E.R.A.
1974 started out well for Clyde, going 3-0, but after some organizational in-fighting over how to handle him, he sat on the bench for a while before getting thrown into the rotation, getting 21 starts and 117 innings with four complete games. He finished the year with nine straight losses and a 3-9 record with a 4.38 E.R.A.
Turns out this was a sad omen of things to come.
After one start in 1975, just after his 20th birthday, Clyde injured his arm and was sent down to the minors, where he remained the rest of the year.
Arm surgery followed in 1976 and after some unspectacular minor league numbers in 1977, Texas lost faith in Clyde so quickly that they ended up trading him to the Indians.
He was never able to recover, and after his 1978 season where he managed to throw 153 innings and go 8-11, his career was essentially done, returning for only nine games the following year for his last hurrah in the big leagues.
All of this BEFORE his 25th birthday.
It's definitely interesting to read up on Clyde's experience in the Majors, and it's all readily available on-line. Totally worth it to see how managerial greed ruined what could have been a kid's great career.

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