Saturday, September 13, 2014

#671 Don Clendenon

Renascence man…So well known as the 1969 WS hero and MVP but he was much more…almost Forrest Gumpian…born in Atlanta to well educated middle class family…Father had two PhDs but died when he was a baby…Stepfather was Negro League veteran so he had expert coaching and exposure to all legendary players of the day…went to Morehouse College where he had a big brother connection to Dr. Martin Luther King…worked his way through the Pirates chain breaking in mid way 1962…became known as a home run hitter but never established huge numbers… had an off field incident in Houston in 1965 which laid the groundwork for future events…however he maintained a strong .291 batting average for his first five years as fixture in the Bucs line up…had off years in 1967 and 68 with BA dropping by almost 40 points…left out for the expansion draft and selected by Montreal for 1969…then things start to happen…Montreal enticed by prospect of Rusty Staub, trade Don to the Astros…Don, based on past and present refuses the assignment and stays with Montreal…with relatively slow start, Don is traded to Mets…platoons 1st base with Ed Kranepool…misses the NLCS playoff but came back with vengeance in the WS hitting 3 crucial home runs and taking MVP honors…Took over as a regular next year when Kranepool faltered badly…1970:  last good season with 22 hrs, 97 RBIs…1971:  Lost playing time with most offensive numbers cut in half…dealt to St. Louis for 1972 as part of a veteran’s movement, poor start doomed fate and was cut mid season…After baseball became a lawyer…died in 2005.

*Special note:  I did not skip #672 Archie Reynolds.  He's there but does not show on the links in other sites (Dave Marshall still shows up).  Not sure how to correct.  If anyone wants to see it here is the link
Poor Archie, one final indignity of an 0-8 career.

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