The Boston Red Sox looked a lot different in 1981 than they had in 1980. Longtime stars like Carlton Fisk, Fred Lynn, Rick Burleson, and Butch Hobson were all gone. One of the new players on the team was Mark Clear.
Clear was acquired in a trade with the Angels, along with third-baseman Carney Lansford and former Red Sox outfielder Rick Miller, now in his second stint. The deal cost the Red Sox fan favorites Burleson and Hobson. Boston ended up getting the better end of the deal over time. Burleson had a great year in 1981 for the Angels, but suffered serious injuries the rest of his time. Hobson only played half the season and struggled, then was released and played just part of one more season with the Yankees. Lansford and Miller will be covered in future posts, and Mark Clear was a major part of the Red Sox bullpen for several seasons.
To say Clear was wild would be an understatement. He had a career strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.45 and it was a little better in 1981: 1.61. But Clear was 8-3 in 1981, though with an ERA of 4.11. He led the team in saves with nine, in a year before closers became the one-inning specialists they are today. He was part of a three-headed bullpen monster that also included Bill Campbell and Tom Burgmeier. Clear struck out 82 and walked 51 in 76.2 innings over 34 games. He was decent enough in 1981.
1982 would be Clear's best season in the Majors. He was an All Star and was 14-9 with a 3.00 ERA and 14 saves. He struck out 109 and walked 61 in 105 innings that season. He struggled in 1983 with a 6.28 ERA before having a couple of decent seasons in 1984 and 1985. Clear was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers before the 1986 season, for utility infielder Ed Romero.