Today’s Random Player From The Baseball Project That May Or May Not Amount To Anything is David Clyde. In 1973 Clyde was the first overall pick by the Texas Rangers straight out of Westchester High School in Houston, having gone 18-0 with five no-hitters during his senior season. While an 18-year-old pitcher straight out of high school would usually go through several rounds of negotiations before getting more money than he has ever seen and then getting sent to A-ball for the rest of the season, the Texas Rangers were desperate for anyone who could possibly play. They were in their second season in Arlington and had just come off of a season in which they went 54-100 and fired their Hall of Fame manager Ted Williams. Rangers’ owner Bob Short wanted to do anything to boost attendance, so despite Whitey Herzog’s thoughts, Clyde was sent straight to the major leagues. The original idea was for Clyde to make a couple of starts and then go to Class A Gastonia, but after 35,698 fans crammed Arlington Stadium to watch David Clyde’s debut – a 4-3 win for a team that was already 20 games below .500 before the calendar turned to July – and realizing that the Rangers averaged 8,827 up to that point, Clyde was in the bigs to stay. He started 18 games for the Rangers, 12 of them at home. The novelty wore off, though and over his last five home starts the average attendance was 6,250 (a drop off of almost 20,000 from his previous seven).
There were some other issues, starting the 1974 season. First, because of Short’s lack of patience, Herzog didn’t even make it through the season, getting canned after a 14-0 beatdown at the hands of the White Sox. Looking for quick turnaround, Short hired the best in the business at it, Billy Martin, to finish the season and to start the following season. I have written before about Martin never believing in having a tomorrow and just a series of today’s, and Clyde was a casualty of this. Instead of going to the minor leagues Martin had him on the big league roster again. It was a controversial move, one that led to Rangers GM Bobby Brown resigning and Clyde missing a month of the season before spending the rest of the season with the big league club. Martin lasted only one season – a typical run for him – and Clyde was once again on the big league roster to start the 1975 season. Then the injuries hit. A shoulder injury after just one start finally got him to the minors, where he spent the next three seasons. He struggled in the minors, walking 137 batters in 181.1 AAA innings after another shoulder surgery. By 1978 he was traded to the Indians. In 1979 he tore his rotator cuff. He was traded back to the Rangers, but was released by the Rangers, labelled as “damaged goods”. For all the hype and promise, David Clyde pitched his last professional game for the Tuscon Toros of the Pacific Coast League. His career was done at age 26. His career stats: 18-33, 4.63 ERA, 81 ERA+, 1.27 K/BB. He has been a dangerous reminder of why you don’t rush young talent as he – like most 18-year-olds—was not ready for Major League Baseball.