Bob Clear

Bob Clear

Elwood Robert Clear (December 14, 1927 – April 6, 2010) was an American minor league baseball infielder, pitcher and manager, and a Major League coach with the California Angels. He was born in Denver, Colorado.

Clear began a long playing career with the 1945 Batavia Clippers, hitting .222 at age 17. Bob moved to the Bakersfield Indians in 1946, playing third base and only posting an .838 fielding percentage while batting .266. The next year, he hit .200 for the Lynchburg Cardinals and .208 for the Decatur Commodores.

Clear then attempted a pitching career. He went 17–12 with a 3.45 ERA for the 1948 Willows Cardinals; he was second to Larry Shepard in wins in the Far West League. He also was 0–1 with the Fresno Cardinals.

He spent most of 1949 with the Pocatello Cardinals (11–6, 5.84) and also was back in Lynchburg for one loss. By his 21st birthday, he had been with seven teams. 1950 brought Clear to the Western League and he went 16–7 with a 3.38 ERA. He was tied for fourth in the circuit in wins, was fourth with 119 walks and the Omaha Cardinals pitcher led the league with four shutouts.

With the three top St. Louis Cardinals minor league affiliates, Clear struggled in 1951, going 1–2, 8.13 for the Houston Buffaloes, 0–4 with a 9.82 ERA for the Columbus Red Birds and 0–1 for the Rochester Red Wings. After 11 teams by age 24, Clear's career settled down. He went 9–12, with a 3.44 ERA for Houston in 1952 and 4–6, with a 3.35 ERA for the 1953 Buffaloes.

Back in Omaha in 1954, Bob went 20–11 with a 2.93 ERA, led the Western League in wins, was 5th in ERA, tied for second with 22 complete games, tied for third with five shutouts, first with 267 innings and first with 114 walks. For Omaha the next year, Clear fell to 1–10, with a 4.42 ERA.

In 1956, Clear finally left the Cardinals chain and was with the Sioux City Soos in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system. He went 5–4 with a 6.00 ERA for the Soos and took over as player-manager on May 15. As player-manager of the 1957 Douglas Copper Kings, Bob hit .313 and went 20–11 with a 3.63 ERA. He was second in the Arizona-Mexico League in ERA behind Don Bruns, tied Candido Andrade for the win lead and led with 28 complete games (in 31 starts). Still just 29 years old, he had now played for 13 clubs.

Falling to 1–10, with a 4.42 ERA for Douglas in 1958, he helped make history on August 19 when he was hitting fifth for Douglas in a game in which all nine starters homered against the Chihuahua Dorados in a 22–6 rout. Presumably, this was his one victory of the year.

He went 13–8, with a 2.81 ERA for the Idaho Falls Russets the next year. He then had arguably his best year yet, going 21–6, with a 2.50 ERA for the Grand Forks Chiefs, leading the Northern League in wins and finishing in the top three in ERA. In 1961, he fell to 4–5, with a 5.05 ERA for Grand Forks. Retiring more or less from pitching, he appeared briefly for the 1965 Kinston Eagles and 1967 Clinton Pilots (1–0, 1.64), wrapping up his career with a 144–117 record for seventeen teams.

He managed in the Pirates chain until 1969, making stops at Batavia in 1962, Gastonia 19631964, Asheville in 1964, Kinston in 1965, back to Gastonia in 1966, Clinton in 1967–1968, and Geneva in 1969. Moving to the California Angels chain, he managed the Idaho Falls Angels from 1970 to 1973.

He was the bullpen coach for the California Angels for 12 years, from 1976 through 1987.

Clear, the uncle of former MLB relief pitcher Mark Clear, died in Carson, California, at the age of 82.

External links

  • BR bullpen article