Jim Clancy – 1978 Topps

September 5, 2010

Why is this man smiling?

Well, wouldn’t you if you were a 21 year old who was called up from Jersey City with a 5-13 record a season after posting a 6.41 ERA in the Texas League (where you walked 98 and struck out just 77 in 125 innings) and then was the 6th pick in the expansion draft?

Yeah, I’d be giddy as hell! I can’t imagine playing Jersey City after a year in San Antonio would be fun for anyone!

As you saw earlier, some pitchers want to look like ‘tough guys’ – and it doesn’t work with some of them. Clancy though looks like a kid happy to be playing the game.

That Jersey City team was an Indians affiliate, but the Blue Jays didn’t have a full system so they scattered their young players everywhere. It was an awful team (40-97 with a pythagorean record of 35-102, YIKES!)

As bad as they were, that Jersey City bunch could have been much worse without the help of the Blue Jays farmhands. Eric Raich went 7-8 for Cleveland in 1975. He went 1-10 with a 7.20 ERA for Jersey City in 1977. Ick.

Clancy (4.88 ERA for Jersey), Mike Darr (6-13, 6.14) and Jeff Byrd (1-4, 3.13) all escaped to Toronto that year. Clancy was smiling but AL hitters were smiling too as he went 4-9 with a 5.03 and more walks than strikeouts.

Darr started once for Toronto, got 4 outs, walked 4, hit a batter, gave up 3 hits (and one home run – a grand slam to Carlton Fisk), spent 1978 in AAA and 1979 in the Carolina League and that was it.

Byrd went 2-13 for Toronto in 1977 (68 walks and 40 Ks in 87 1/3 innings), spent half a year at Syracuse getting shelled, played in the California League in 1979 and that was it for him.

So if Clancy may have been smiling because future Jim Clancy, wearing his Atlanta Braves uniform, told Jim he’d be pitching in the 1991 World Series and have a million dollar salary his last couple of years!

Heck, with that knowledge, I’d be smiling, and not hoarding my meal money. Poutine for everyone!

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