Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Unknown Heroes Before My Time Pt. 8: Mark Clear

I have mentioned my affinity for closers before.  Mark Clear was kind of a closer, though he pitched at a time when relief roles were not as well-defined as they are now.  Nevertheless there was no dispute that Mark Clear was a relief pitcher.  He pitched in 225 games with the Red Sox and never started a single one.  In fact, he started precisely one game in his entire career, in his ninth season.  Clear never really picked up a lot of saves, his career high was 16.  He did win a lot of games in a relief role though.

Clear was acquired in a trade with the Angels prior to the 1981 season along with Carney Lansford and Rick Miller for Rick Burleson and Butch Hobson.  Unlike the other trade with the Angels before the '81 season, this one worked out reasonably well for Boston.  Lansford won the batting title in '81 and kept third base warm for Wade Boggs.  Miller was a regular outfielder for a couple of years.  And of course Clear was a valuable member of the Red Sox bullpen for a few years.

Clear had his best season with the Red Sox in 1982.  He was an All Star that season and went 14-9 with a 3.00 ERA and 109 strikeouts and 61 walks in 105 innings.  He also saved 14 games.  Clear did have a tendency to walk too many batters, which was a big problem for him throughout his career, but he also racked up very nearly a strikeout an inning for his career (804 strikeouts in 804.1 innings).  Clear had a bad year in 1983 but rebounded nicely in 1984 and 1985.  He was then traded to the Brewers for utility infielder Ed Romero, a less than good trade for the Red Sox.

Mark Clear was not the most effective reliever, but he got the job done more often than not, plus he had one hell of a mustache.

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