Horace Clarke, Standout in a Dismal Yankee Era, Dies at 82

Horace Clarke, a reliable although light-weight-hitting second baseman for the Yankees who grew to become indelibly and ingloriously associated with the team’s lean a long time in the 1960s and ’70s — what some sardonically labeled “the Horace Clarke era” — died on Wednesday at his property in Laurel, Md. He was 82.

His death was verified by the place of work of his cousin, Stacey E. Plaskett, the Democratic delegate who represents the Virgin Islands in Congress. His son Jeffrey said the induce was complications of Alzheimer’s disorder.

At the time of his debut, in 1965, Clarke, an undersized center infielder, was one of just 5 gamers born in the U.S. Virgin Islands to make it to the main leagues. He played 10 seasons in the majors, all but section of the final time for the Yankees.

What he lacked in power as a hitter — he had only 27 career property operates — he built up for with a positive-handed glove and fantastic pace. His stolen-base totals had been in double digits in 7 seasons, and he was amongst the American League’s major 10 foundation stealers 4 situations.

But he had the misfortune of joining the Yankees just as the team was about to tumble from the heights of greatness. Previous his rookie year of 1965, the Yankees, led by the likes of Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford, had received the American League pennant 5 straight seasons.

Through Clarke’s 10-yr tenure, even so, New York unsuccessful to make the postseason after. The team would not get there once again right up until 1976, two decades just after Clarke retired. In concerning came that so-termed Horace Clarke period.

Speaking to a reporter for The Day by day Information in 2010, Clarke admitted that it was aggravating to be labeled a scapegoat for people underachieving Yankee teams. But he additional: “I know — New York is New York. You never get, you’re likely to listen to about it. I was in the center.”

Horace Meredith Clarke was born on June 2, 1938, in Frederiksted, St. Croix, to Dennis and Vivian (Woods) Clarke. He was the youngest of six youngsters.

He attended Christiansted Large College and went to a baseball tryout camp in 1957 but was not signed. The following January, he was signed by the Yankee scout Jose Seda.

From 1958 to 1965, Clarke showcased his velocity and his means to get on foundation in the minimal leagues. He created his key league debut on Could 13, 1965, against the Boston Red Sox. In his to start with at-bat, he pinch-hit for the pitcher Hal Reniff in the seventh inning and hit an infield solitary.

Clarke began his massive-league job as a reserve, appearing mainly at shortstop and as a pinch-hitter. He was made the entire-time next baseman in 1967, succeeding the Yankee stalwart Bobby Richardson, who experienced retired right after the 1966 year. Participating in along with teammates like Ruben Amaro, Joe Pepitone, Roy White and Tom Tresh, Clarke proceeded to direct the club in at-bats, hits, runs, stolen bases and batting typical in 1967, taking part in in extra game titles than any teammate apart from Mantle.

From 1965 to 1974, Clarke was 1 of just 10 players who posted 150 or far more stolen bases and 1,200 or additional hits — a listing that also incorporates the Hall of Fame gamers Joe Morgan and Lou Brock.

His finest all round season was in 1969, when he appeared in 156 online games, submitting a profession-substantial .285 batting ordinary and .339 on-foundation share. His 183 hits ended up 2nd between American League hitters that year.

A pesky switch-hitter, Clarke broke up three likely no-hitters during the 1970 period, all in the ninth inning, with singles off Jim Rooker, Sonny Siebert and the knuckleballer Joe Niekro — and all, remarkably, within just one month.

In Niekro’s no-strike bid, a road video game in Detroit on July 2, Clarke was at bat with just one out in the ninth and the count at a single ball and no strikes when he pulled a floor ball in between to start with and second. The Tiger next baseman Dick McAuliffe corralled the baseball on the outfield grass and tossed it to Niekro, covering initially base. But the toss was lower and pulled Niekro off the bag, enabling the hustling Clarke to arrive at base securely and finish the no-hitter.

Because 1961 only one other player has damaged up three prospective no-hitters in the ninth inning, the Minnesota Twins All-Star Joe Mauer, nevertheless only Clarke did it in one time.

After taking part in in a lot more than 1,200 game titles in his 10 seasons with the Yankees, Clarke was dealt to the San Diego Padres in Could 1974. He appeared in just 42 games with the Padres, batting down below .200 right before retiring at the conclusion of that period.

Among the players born in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a fairly compact roster, Clarke is the chief in online games performed, hits, operates, R.B.I.s and stolen bases.

On his retirement from the video game, Clarke returned home and ran baseball applications for the younger. Two participants, Jerry Browne and Midre Cummings, went on to have significant league professions.

In addition to his son Jeffrey, Clarke is survived by a further son, Jason his sisters, Violet Armstrong and Hollis Jefferson and four grandchildren.

Although his tenure with the Yankees arrived during a lower stage in group record, Clarke recalled his time in the Bronx fondly, relishing in distinct the reality that he experienced played for the exact same storied organization as his boyhood hero.

“Walking on to the subject at the stadium that initially time was a person of the greatest points for me,” he informed The Daily Information in 2010. “I grew up listening to the Yankees on the radio, and Phil Rizzuto was my idol. I involved with him, due to the fact he was tiny and I was smaller, and I played shortstop then, way too.”

Johnny Diaz contributed reporting.

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