RHP 1882, 84-94 Worcester, Chicago, Braves, Spiders
- Led League in w 85, 87, 89
- Led League in era 89
- Led League in k 85-87, 89
- Hall Of Fame in 1963
Although never considered the premier pitcher of his day, Clarkson was highly regarded
by teammates and opponents alike. He is still among the all-time leaders in wins,
winning percentage, complete games, innings pitched, and several fielding categories.
in an era of two-man rotations, Clarkson led the NL in wins, appearances, starts,
complete games, innings, and strikeouts in 1885, 1887, and 1889; in shutouts in 1885
and 1889; and in strikeouts and ERA in 1889. As a result, the teams he pitched for
during this period, the Chicago White Sox (later the Cubs) and the Boston Beaneaters
(later the Braves), were consistently in contention, winning two pennants each. He
accounted for 53 of the White Sox' 87 wins in 1885, and 49 of Boston's 83 victories
in 1889. His win totals in those two years rank second and fourth on the all-time
season list. On July 27, 1885, Clarkson hurled a no-hit, no-run game against the
Manager Cap Anson proclaimed Clarkson "one of the greatest of
pitchers," but complained about his ace's perpetual psychological demands, chiding
that "he won't pitch if scolded." Clarkson was intelligent, sensitive, handsome,
and generally subdued, but was not above certain acts of indiscretion on the field.
In one game, he pitched a lemon instead of a ball to prove to the umpire that it
was too dark to continue play. His contemporaries considered him a calculating, scientific
carefully analyzed every hitter's weaknesses. Peering out from deep-set
dark eyes, his long, lean fingers cradling the ball, he had a slow, assured pace
to his delivery, and he may well have dominated some hitters by intimidation alone.
deal which sent Clarkson to Boston in 1888 rocked the baseball world, as he and teammate
Mike "King" Kelly were sold outright to the Beaneaters for $10,000 apiece - an incredible
sum at the time. After four years in Boston, a new manager, Frank Selee, traded Clarkson
to also-ran Cleveland, where his talents faded. Along with pitching siblings Dad
and Walter, John Clarkson shares third place in most career wins by brothers, behind
the Niekros and Perrys (John and Dad both pitched for Boston in 1892). A business
student before turning to pro ball, Clarkson purchased a cigar store in Cambridge
upon retirement, and ran it until his death at age 47. He was inducted into the Hall
of Fame 54 years later.
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|FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY|
|» September 2, 1889: In the afternoon game of a Labor Day doubleheader in Boston, Hardie Richardson hits a leadoff homer and P John Clarkson (36-13) makes it stand up for a 10 win. |
» December 18, 1889: The Brotherhood meets and expels members who have signed National League contracts, including Jack Glasscock, John Clarkson, Kid Gleason, and George Miller. Among those expelled, Jake Beckley, Joe Mulvey, and Ed Delahanty would eventually jump back to the PL and be reinstated.
» May 6, 1892: John Clarkson and Elton "Icebox" Chamberlain pitch a 14-inning scoreless tie, finally called by Jack Sherdian because the angle of the sun was blinding both the batter and pitcher. Clarkson limits the Reds to four hits, one fewer than the Beaneaters can manage off of Chamberlain. The Cincinnati Enquirer states that calling a game "on account of the sun" a good one. "His decision, while it may appear ridiculous on the face of it, was, strange to relate, a just and sensible one."
» May 26, 1892: Boston's John Clarkson loses a no-hitter with two outs in the 9th inning, as Hughie Jennings of the Louisville Colonels comes through with a hit. Clarkson wins, 70.
» June 20, 1894:
Cleveland's John Clarkson stops the visiting Colts, 73. Chicago's Bill Dahlen, hitting .257, goes 1-for-4 to start his hitting streak.
» February 4, 1909: John Clarkson, a 326-game winner of the 19th century, dies at Belmont, MA, at age 47.
» August 10, 1909: At West Side Grounds, the Cubs Ed Reulbach stops Brooklyn, 8-1, for his 16th straight win. The string started on July 30, 1907 and is one shy of the franchise record set by John Clarkson.
» January 10, 1918:
Acknowledging that Ty Cobb, Speaker, and Collins are all good ball players, Cap Anson picks his all-time team, leaving them off. In the current issue of TSN, Anson selects, CBuck Ewing and King Kelly; PAmos Rusie, John Clarkson, Jim McCormick; 1B-himself; 2BFred Pfeffer; 3BEd Williamson; SSRoss Barnes; OFBill Lange, George Gore, Jimmy Ryan, and Hugh Duffy.
» May 26, 1957: At Wrigley Field, rookie Dick Drott, 20, of the Cubs strikes out 15 Braves, including Hank Aaron and Billy Bruton three times, en route to a 75 victory in game one. Drott's 15 K's is a Cubs 20th C. mark for nine innings (to be broken by Kerry Wood) and one shy of John Clarkson's 1886 club mark. His 15 wins this year are the most for a Cub rookie since Pat Malone won 18 in 1928. Chicago sweeps, winning the nitecap, 54.
» January 27, 1963: The Hall of Fame Special Veterans Committee votes in Sam Rice, Eppa Rixey, Elmer Flick, and John Clarkson.