Thursday, May 4, 2017

#345 Jim Clancy Toronto Blue Jays

This is Jim Clancy's 6th Topps card.  His right arm blurs as he follows through with a pitch and the bright background is out of focus too.  Jim looks slightly perturbed in the inset.  Maybe it's because he is without his familiar mustache. 

Player: Jim Clancy was drafted by the Rangers but never played for them.  The Blue Jays made Clancy their 6th pick in the expansion draft and he made 13 starts in 1977.  He was a regular in the Jays rotation in '78 but was injured for much of the '79 season.  We wasn't very successful in either campaign but he started to to put it together in 1980.  Although he walked a league high 128 batters he logged an impressive 250 innings with a 3.30 ERA.

The '81 season was a step backward as Clancy's ERA ballooned to 4.90.  Clancy would start 40 games in 1982 and barring a dramatic change in pitcher usage, that's something we likely won't see again. He put in 266 innings of work with a neat 3.71 ERA, earning him his lone All-Star selection.

The next six years Clancy would he a workhorse for Toronto and seemed to be either a little better than average or a little bit below average.  Considering the nine seasons he spent with the Jay's in the 80's Clancy was 112-112 with a 4.02, pretty much your average number three or four starter.

After the 1988 season the Houston Astros signed the 32 year-old righty to a three year deal paying out over a million dollars a year.  If you thought this signing was a bad idea you were right. Clancy won just nine game in two and a half years with the Astros.  Having been demoted to the pen he found some success during the '91 season and was traded to the Braves halfway through the year. Even though he struggled in Atlanta, he found made the playoff roster and won game three of the World Series, recording the final out in the top of the 12th before the Braves walked it off in the bottom frame.

Clancy retired after failing to catch on with the Cubs in 1992, ending his career with a 4.23 ERA in his 15 season of work..


Flipside: The 1982 totals are all pretty much career bests for Clancy as he finally was able to command his pitches and lower his walk rate.

Oddball: I remember Clancy pitching a lot against my Tigers in the 1980s and for good reason as Clancy had a 4-17 record against Detroit.

History:  Often playing second fiddle to Dave Stieb, Clancy did make two opening days starts in 1981 and and 1984.  He had a rubber arm and was a bit of a throwback even for his era. According to baseballreference.com, Clancy made eight starts on two days rest and 58 on three days rest in his career.  In fact his 40 games started in '82 was the last time a non-knuckleballer started that many.
Even though he is known as having the most losses in the 1980s (126), he helped the Blue Jays go from struggling expansion team to a top flight team in the AL East.

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