Thursday, October 3, 2013

THE STRANGE CASE OF RICKEY CLARK...3 CARDS FOR 53 INNINGS

What an odd topic Rickey Clark was as far as baseball cards go.
We've all seen Topps make strange choices when it came to selecting players to depict on their yearly sets, but Clark is up there when it comes to "why?", multiple times!
To start with, take his 1970 card (#586): considering that in 1969 Clark appeared in only six games for 9.2 innings TOTAL, going 0-0 with a 5.59 E.RA., you can't help but wonder why Topps put him in their set the following year.
But it gets better!
Clark didn't even appear in a big league game in 1970, toiling in the Angels' minor leagues all year, yet Topps went ahead and gave him another card in their 1971 set (#697).
No clue as to why. It's not like Clark tore up the Minor Leagues or anything. He went 6-10 with a 4.99 E.R.A. for both the Detroit and California Minor League system. Yet once again kids were staring down at a "Rickey Clark" card the following year.
Then in 1972 Topps went ahead and gave him yet ANOTHER card (#462), even though he only appeared in 11 games for 44 innings in 1971.
So if you add it up, Rickey Clark was issued three straight cards for only 17 games and 53.2 innings of work in the big leagues!
Pretty amazing when you think about it. Heck, guys like Luis Tiant weren't even given a card during some of those years, yet this guy was given a slot each and every time.
Actually Clark started out in the Majors on the right foot and had a really good rookie year in 1967, going 12-11 with a 2.59 E.R.A. with a shutout over 174 innings.
But in 1968 he had a COMPLETE change of fortune, going 1-11 with a 3.53 E.R.A. over 94 innings, with his luck getting even worse the rest of his career.
From 1968 through 1972, his final year in the Majors, Clark posted a record of 7-21 over 63 games, before finally hanging them up after the 1973 season which he spent in the Minors for the Philadelphia Phillies Triple-AAA team in Eugene, Oregon.
Oh, and yes, Clark did indeed have a card in the 1973 set as well, but at least he broke 100 innings the year before (109 to be exact). It's just that he never appeared in a game in the Majors ever again.
Strange indeed.

A card for 9.2 innings of total work the previous year.

A card for ZERO innings of Major League work the previous year!

Hold on now! This time he threw 44 innings. Gotta have a card now, right?!

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