Wednesday, December 7, 2011

#62 Bob McClure

Card: Bob McClure is shown here on his seventh Topps card.

Pic:  McClure looks like his hat is four sizes too big in the inset pic. 

Player:  The Kansas City Royals selected Bob McClure in the 3rd round of the 1973 draft.  The 5'11" lefty was a starting pitcher in the minors but was used in relief by the Royals throwing 15.1 scoreless innings in a brief look in 1975.  McClure was less successful in two stints with KC in '76, allowing four runs in four innings.  McClure was traded to the Brewers in March '77 and pitched in relief over the next four seasons.  He was part of a bullpen by committee and earned 30 saves from 1977-80.  McClure's ERA over this time frame: 2.52, 3.74, 3.88, and 3.08. 

In '81 McClure suffered an injury to his rotator cuff and did not pitch until September.  In the ALDS loss against the Yankees he did not allow a run in three games.  McClure started and ended '82 in the pen but was the Brewers number five starter for most of the year.  As a starter he saw his ERA rise to 4.22 and with Rollie Fingers injured, McClure assumed closer duties in the '82 playoffs.  He was effective in the ALCS against the Angels, pitching 1.2 innings of scoreless relief and earning a win.  McClure had a big impact in the '82 World Series.  Appearing in five games, he saved games 4 and 5, but lost game 2 and the deciding game 7 against the Cardinals. 

McClure spent '83 and '84 in and out of the rotation, logging 142 and 139 innings with mediocre ERAs.  He was in the pen for the '85 season and pitched 85 innings with a league average ERA, picking up three saves along the way. 

McClure was traded to the Expos during the '86 campaign and did well north of the border and finished the year with a 3.19 ERA in 79 innings with six saves. McClure pitched in 52 games in '87 with a 3.44 ERA but began the '88 season poorly and was released.  Picked up by the Mets, McClure pitched in 33 games with a combined ERA of 5.40. 

McLure signed in the offseason with the Angels and had a career best 1.55 ERA in '89, saving three and allowing only 39 hits in 52 innings.  McClure missed most of '90 with injuries and was released after a rocky start to the '91 season.  Picked up by the Cardinals he was used as a lefty specialist.  He was effective in this role appearing in a total of 103 games in a season and a half in St. Louis, with 3.13 and 3.17 ERAs in 23 and 54 innings.
The 41 year-old vet signed with the expansion Marlins in '93 and was cut after allowing five runs in 6.1 innings.  After 19 seasons McClure called it a career.

Stuff:  Mid 80's fastball, curve (his best pitch), sinker, change.  Occasional knuckleball from '85 forward.

Flipside:  Other '82 Highlights...McClure was a hard luck loser in an August 18th game against the A's.  He pitched 10.1 innings, losing in the 11th when the A's scratched across a run when Rickey Henderson reached on an error, was bunted to second, and scored on a Joe Rudi single.  It was McClure's fifth time through the lineup! 
McLure had quite an August, with complete game wins on 8/12 and 8/29 allowing just one run each time.

Oddball:  McClure played little league baseball with Keith Hernandez.  They were reunited on the '88 Mets squad.  How cool is that?

History:  McClure was thrust into a difficult spot in the '82 World Series as the Brewers interim closer and that's how many remember him.  He pitched in 698 games over 19 seasons, often as an effective left-handed set-up guy, and later as a left handed specialist. 
After retiring as a player McClure was a pitching coach in the Rockies organization from '99-'05 until taking the same position with the big league Royals.  McClure was fired by the Royals in November 2011, and has since taken a scouting job with the Red Sox.

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