Fred Clarke

Fred Clifford Clarke (October 3, 1872 – August 14, 1960) was an American Major League Baseball player from 1894 to 1915 and manager from 1897 to 1915. A Hall of Famer, Clarke played for and managed both the Louisville Colonels and Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a left fielder and left-handed batter.

Of the nine pennants in Pittsburgh franchise history, Clarke was the player-manager for four of them. He and fellow Hall of Famers Honus Wagner and Vic Willis led Pittsburgh to a victory over Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers in the 1909 World Series. Clarke batted over .300 in 11 different seasons. His 35-game hitting streak in 1895 was the second-longest in Major League history at the time. For six years, Clarke held the Major League record for wins by a manager.

Fred Clarke
Fred Clarke Baseball
Clarke in 1903
Outfielder / Manager
Born: October 3, 1872
Winterset, Iowa
Died: August 14, 1960 (aged 87)
Winfield, Kansas
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 30, 1894, for the Louisville Colonels
Last MLB appearance
September 23, 1915, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
MLB statistics
Batting average.312
Home runs67
Runs batted in1,015
Stolen bases506
Managerial record1,602–1,181
Winning %.576
As player
As manager
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Election MethodVeteran's Committee

Early life and career

Fred Clarke was born on a farm near Winterset, Iowa. At age two, his family moved as part of a covered wagon caravan from Iowa to Kansas before relocating to Des Moines, Iowa, five years later. As a child in Des Moines, Clarke sold newspapers for the Iowa State Register where his boss was future Baseball Hall of Fame member, Ed Barrow.[1] In 1892, a professional team in Hastings, Nebraska sent a railroad ticket to Des Moines semiprofessional player Byron McKibbon, but McKibbon backed out and gave the ticket to Clarke instead. Clarke impressed the Hastings team and he signed his first professional contract.[2] He was in the Southern League at age 21 and played for teams in Montgomery, Alabama, and Savannah, Georgia.[1]

Clarke was discovered in the minor leagues by Louisville part-owner, Barney Dreyfuss, and joined the Colonels in 1894.[3] In his first game, he collected five hits in five at bats which is still a Major League record.[3][4] In his second season, he asserted himself with a batting average of .347, 191 hits and 96 runs which were all best on the team by far. In 1897, Clarke took over managerial duties while only 24 years old. As a player, he hit a career high .390. Only the best average of Willie Keeler's career stopped Clarke from winning his only batting title. (For many years, Clarke's 1897 average was listed as .406 but further research led most official sources, including, to list it at .390.[5]) Despite Clarke's excellent hitting and the presence of fellow Hall of Famers Honus Wagner and Rube Waddell, the team struggled for several years. While in Louisville, Clarke was teamed up with pitcher Chick Fraser. Clarke and Fraser became brothers-in-law when they married sisters.[6] When the Colonels folded, Barney Dreyfuss became the owner of the Pittsburgh franchise and tapped Clarke, Wagner, Waddell, Deacon Phillippe, and others to accompany him.


Clarke, Leach, and Wagner
Clarke (left) with Pirates teammates Tommy Leach and Honus Wagner

In 1900, Clarke joined the Pittsburgh Pirates as a player and manager, roles he would embrace until his retirement in 1915. 1903 was arguably the best hitting season of Clarke's career as he led the Major Leagues in slugging average and OPS and led the National League in doubles. He finished second only to his teammate, Honus Wagner, for the National League batting title. In the first World Series, Clarke hit .265 but Boston's Cy Young and Bill Dinneen outpitched Pittsburgh overall and won the series in eight games.

In the 1909 World Series, Clarke batted only .211 but hit both of Pittsburgh's home runs and had more home runs and RBI than any player on either team. Clarke also set a record for most walks for one player in a World Series game with four in Game 7.

On August 23, 1910, Clarke recorded four assists from the outfield in one game, tying a Major League record. The following season, his last as a regular player, 38-year-old Clarke made 10 putouts in left field in one game on April 25, 1911.[1][3] Clarke played just 12 more games after 1911, the last three as the oldest active player in the majors.

Clarke finished his career with a .312 batting average and is seventh on the all-time triples list with 220.[7] He led his team to four National League pennants (1901, 1902, 1903 and 1909) and one World Series championship (1909). The 1902 Pirates lost only 36 games under Clarke's guidance, tying a modern-era record. In 1912, Clarke passed Cap Anson and Frank Selee, giving him the Major League record for wins by a manager. Clarke's record, in turn, was broken by John McGraw in 1918. In addition to the four pennants and one World Series, Clarke managed Pittsburgh to five second-place seasons, three third-place seasons, and two 100-win seasons.

After his playing days

After his managing days ended in 1915, Clarke returned to his "Little Pirate Ranch" near Winfield, Kansas, which he had purchased with a down payment during his first year in the majors.[1] He made a considerable fortune when oil was discovered on his property. In 1924, he bought a minority stake in the Pirates and was named the team's vice president. He was also allowed to sit in the dugout during games, making him manager Bill McKechnie's bench coach in all but name. The Pirates won the World Series the following year.[8][3]

During the 1926 season, several players felt that Clarke was trying to undermine McKechnie and become manager once again. When slumping veteran (and eventual Hall of Famer) Max Carey—one of only two members of the 1909 world champions still on the team—got word that Clarke tried to pressure McKechnie into benching him, Carey demanded that Clarke be removed from the bench. He was supported by the other member of the 1909 team who was still on the roster, Babe Adams, as well as another veteran, Carson Bigbee. McKechnie initially appeared to side with Carey, Adams and Bigbee, but was forced to recant rather than risk appearing to criticize the front office. A resolution calling for Clarke's removal from the bench only garnered the support of three other players. Ownership struck fast and hard; on August 13, the Pirates released Adams and Bigbee, and waived Carey. They finished 84–69, third in the league behind the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds, and McKechnie lost his job.[8]

Fred Clarke was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945 as one of the first to be elected by the Old-Timers Committee. He was one of 24 original inductees into the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame in 1951.[9] Clarke remained active and seemingly indestructible into his 70s. In 1947, while fishing in northern Minnesota, he and his wife were thrown into icy northern Minnesota waters by a storm, but he was back out fishing the next day. Soon after, he was nearly shot accidentally while quail hunting. He then survived a gas furnace explosion in his basement.[2] While in Winfield he started the Winfield Country Club that is still in operation to this day. Fred Clarke died in Winfield at age 87.

Hall of Fame voting

Year Votes Percent
1936 BBWAA 1 0.4%
Veterans 9
1937 22 10.9%
1938 63 24.0%
1939 59 21.5%
1942 58 24.9%
1945 BBWAA 53 21.5%
Old-Timers Unanimous

Managerial record

Team From To Regular season record Post–season record
G W L Win % G W L Win %
Louisville Colonels 1897 1899 392 180 212 .459
Pittsburgh Pirates 1900 1915 2391 1422 969 .595 15 7 8 .467
Total 2783 1602 1181 .576 15 7 8 .467

See also


  1. ^ a b c d McGrane, Bert (1951-04-15). "Pop Anson, Marshalltown, 1951 – Fred Clarke, Winterset, 1951 – Red Faber, Cascade, 1951 – Bob Feller, Van Meter, 1951". Des Moines Register. Archived from the original on 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2006-12-15.
  2. ^ a b Baseball Digest, 1948, by Bill Bryson of The Des Moines Register.
  3. ^ a b c d Eckhouse, Morris A. "Fred Clarke". Archived from the original on 2007-01-05. Retrieved 2006-11-12.
  4. ^ Fred Clarke Archived 2007-06-08 at the Wayback Machine at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
  5. ^ Schwarz, Alan (2004-07-21). The Numbers Game. Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 0-312-32222-4.
  6. ^ Kavanagh, Jack. "Chick Fraser". Archived from the original on 2007-02-10. Retrieved 2006-12-18.
  7. ^ "Career Leaders for Triples". Retrieved 2006-12-28.
  8. ^ a b James, Bill (1997). The Bill James Guide to Baseball Managers. Diversion Books.
  9. ^ "Iowa Sports Hall of Fame". Des Moines Register. Archived from the original on 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2006-11-03.
  10. ^ "Fred Clarke". Baseball Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved August 8, 2016.

External links

Preceded by
Harry Davis
Nap Lajoie
Hitting for the cycle
July 23, 1901
May 7, 1903
Succeeded by
Nap Lajoie
Buck Freeman
1899 Louisville Colonels season

The 1899 Louisville Colonels baseball team finished with a 75–77 record and ninth place in the National League. Following the season, owner Barney Dreyfuss bought the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and folded his Louisville team. Manager Fred Clarke and most of the players moved over to the Pirates where they enjoyed much more success in the coming years. The Colonels, a perennial also-ran through their National League run from 1892 to 1899, appeared to be on the cusp of becoming a strong team when the National League contracted from 12 teams to 8 after the end of the 1899 season. Louisville started the season with a 15–37 record after 52 games, but then went 60–40 in their last 100 in the first glimpse of what was to become a strong Pirates team in the years to come. Many star players, including several Hall of Famers, of the first decade of the 20th Century came from the 1899 Louisville squad including Clarke, Honus Wagner, Rube Waddell, Deacon Phillippe, Tommy Leach and Claude Ritchey.

1901 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1901 Pittsburgh Pirates finished in first place in the National League, 7½ games ahead of the second-place Philadelphia Phillies. It was the first year that the American League operated as a major league, but there would be no World Series between the leagues until 1903.

The team was managed by Fred Clarke, who was also their starting left fielder. Clarke, in his fifth year as a manager at age 28, won his first pennant. The Pirates won the National League championship in the next two years as well.

1902 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates won a second straight National League pennant, by an overwhelming 27.5 game margin over the Brooklyn Superbas. It was the Pirates' first ever 100-win team, and still holds the franchise record for best winning percentage at home (.789).

Ginger Beaumont won the batting title with a .357 mark, Tommy Leach led the league in home runs with 6 (a major league record for fewest HRs to lead the league), Honus Wagner led the league in RBI with 91, and Jack Chesbro led the league with 28 wins. As a team, the Pirates led the league in every significant batting category, the last time that has been done in the NL. They scored 775 runs, which was 142 more than any other team.

The team allowed four home runs during their 1902 season, the fewest in MLB history.

1904 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1904 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 23rd season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; the 18th in the National League. The Pirates finished fourth in the National League with a record of 87–66.

1905 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1905 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 24th season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise. The Pirates finished second in the National League with a record of 96–57.

1906 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1906 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 25th season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; the 20th in the National League. The Pirates finished third in the league standings with a record of 93–60.

1907 Major League Baseball season

The 1907 Major League Baseball season. The Chicago Cubs defeated the Detroit Tigers 4–0–1 to win the World Series.

The Philadelphia Phillies set a Major League record for the fewest at bats by a team in a season – 4,725.

1907 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1907 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 26th season for the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise. It involved the Pirates finishing second in the National League.

The offense was led by Tommy Leach and Hall of Famers Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke. Wagner led the NL in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and stolen bases. The Pirates scored the most runs of any team.

1908 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1908 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 27th season for the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise. The team finished tied for second place in the National League with the New York Giants, one game behind the Chicago Cubs. The Pirates spent 46 days in first place, and were on top on October 3. However, they lost their last game to the Cubs, which set up a replay of the infamous "Merkle" game between the Cubs and the Giants. The Cubs took it to win the pennant. Pittsburgh finished tied for second place with the Giants, just one game back. It was one of the closest races in baseball history.

Shortstop Honus Wagner had one of the most dominating hitting performances of all-time. The "Flying Dutchman" led the majors in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs batted in, and stolen bases. He missed the triple crown by two home runs. For his efforts, Wagner was paid $5,000, possibly the most on the team.

1909 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 28th season for the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise, during which they won the National League pennant with a record of 110–42 and their first World Series over the Detroit Tigers. Led by shortstop Honus Wagner and outfielder-manager Fred Clarke, the Pirates scored the most runs in the majors. Wagner led the league in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and runs batted in. Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss opened the Pirates' new ballpark, named Forbes Field, on June 30, 1909.The Pirates' 110 wins remain a team record, a record they set in the last game of the season by beating the Cincinnati Reds 7–4 in muddy conditions on October 5. It is in fact the best regular season win percentage by any World Series winning team.

1909 World Series

In the 1909 World Series featured the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Detroit Tigers. The Pirates won the Series in seven games to capture their first championship of the modern Major League Baseball era and the second championship in the club's history. This Series is best remembered for the amazing play by the two best players at the time, Honus Wagner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Ty Cobb of the Detroit Tigers.

The Pirates had won the pennant in 1909 behind the brilliant play of Honus Wagner, who led the league with a .339 batting average and 100 RBI.

Detroit returned for their third consecutive Fall Classic determined to erase the memories of their previous efforts. The Tigers were also backed up by the heavy bat of Ty Cobb (who had just won his third consecutive American League batting title) and a formidable pitching staff.

They might have finally won the Series in their third try had it not been for Pirates rookie Babe Adams. Manager Fred Clarke started him, on a hunch, in Game 1. Adams won that game and two more, setting a World Series record for rookies.

The Tigers thus became the first AL team to win three consecutive pennants and the first team to lose three straight World Series (the New York Giants would lose three straight Series during 1911–1913).

The Pirates ran at will against the weak Detroit catching corps, stealing 18 bases in seven games.

1910 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1910 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 29th season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; the 24th in the National League. The defending World Series champion Pirates finished third in the National League with a record of 86–67.

1911 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1911 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 30th season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; the 25th in the National League. The Pirates finished third in the league standings with a record of 85–69.

1913 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1913 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 32nd season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; the 27th in the National League. The Pirates finished fourth in the league standings with a record of 78–71.

Frank Bowerman

Frank Eugene Bowerman (December 5, 1868 – November 30, 1948) was an American catcher and manager in Major League Baseball with the Baltimore Orioles, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Giants, and the Boston Doves, as well as a player-manager for the Doves in his last season in professional baseball. While always playing in the shadows of Wilbert Robinson and Roger Bresnahan, he was a solid player who could play any position in the diamond, and he even pitched an inning for the Giants in 1904. He was also the first to catch Hall-of-Famer Christy Mathewson.

Bowerman was known for having a short fuse, as he repeatedly got into fights with players, umpires, and fans. In one such case in 1903, he punched a heckler in the face and got arrested. He also started a fight with manager Fred Clarke while with the Pirates and gave him a black eye.

The Doves hired him as manager during the 1909 season, but his fiery temper did not go well with his team, and he was relegated to player-only status after only 76 games.

Bowerman died in his birthplace of Romeo, Michigan five days shy of his 80th birthday.

Fred Clarke (educationist)

Sir Frederick Clarke (2 August 1880 – 6 January 1952) was an English educationist who was Director of the Institute of Education in the University of London between 1936 and 1945.During the 1930s and 1940s, he was also a strong advocate for educational reform in England and Wales. Clarke was fully involved in the public educational debate at the time and a member of a private group of leading educational thinkers known as 'The Moot'. He is known particularly for his book Education and Social Change: an English interpretation from 1940. Other books include the collection of essays Essays in the Politics of Education (1923) and Freedom in the Educative Society (1948).

Frederick Clarke

Frederick Clarke or Fred Clarke may refer to:

Fred Clarke (1872–1960), American baseball player

Sir Fred Clarke (educationist) (1880–1952), Director of the Institute of Education in the University of London

Frederick Clarke (British Army officer) (1892–1972), served in both World Wars

Frederick J. Clarke (1915–2002), American civil and military engineer with the United States Army Corps of Engineers

Fred Clarke (Australian footballer) (born 1932), Australian rules footballer for Richmond

Fred Clarke (footballer, born 1941), association footballer from Northern Ireland

List of Louisville Colonels managers

The Louisville Colonels were a Major League Baseball team that played in Louisville, Kentucky. They played in the American Association when it was considered a major league from 1882 through 1891 and in the National League from 1892 through 1899, after which the team folded and its best players were transferred to the Pittsburgh Pirates. From 1882 through 1884 the team was named the Louisville Eclipse. During their time as a Major League team, the Colonels employed 17 managers. The duties of the team manager include team strategy and leadership on and off the field.The Colonels' first manager was Denny Mack. Mack managed the team for one season (1882), in which he led the Colonels to a record of 38 wins and 42 losses. Fred Clarke was the Colonels' last manager. Clarke took over as player-manager of the team during the 1897 season, and managed the team through the 1899 season while also playing as an outfielder for the Colonels. Clarke was one of the players transferred to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1900, as were Honus Wagner, Tommy Leach, Claude Ritchey and Deacon Phillippe. Clarke took over as the Pirates' player-manager, and after a second-place finish in 1900, he led the Pirates, with the former Colonels stars, to three consecutive league pennants in 1901, 1902, 1903, and a World Series championship in 1909. Clarke was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945, the only Colonels' manager so honored. The Colonels won their only Major League pennant when they had the best record in the American Association in 1890. They played to a tie in the World Series that season against the National League champion Brooklyn Bridegrooms; each team won three games and there was one tie game. Jack Chapman was the Colonels' manager that season.Clarke holds the Colonels' record for games managed (402), managerial wins (180), and managerial losses (212). Mike Walsh, who managed the team in 1884, has the highest winning percentage of any Colonels' manager, at .630. The only other two managers who had winning percentages over .500 for the Colonels are Mack and Joe Gerhardt, who managed the team in 1883. The only Colonels' manager who served more than one term was Mordecai Davidson, who served two terms during the 1888 season while he was also the team's owner. Davidson replaced John Kelly for three games before being replaced by John Kerins. After Kerins managed the Colonels for seven games, Davidson took over again for the final 90 games of the season. Davidson's total managerial record with the Colonels was 93 games managed with 35 wins and 54 losses, for a winning percentage of .393.

List of Pittsburgh Pirates owners and executives

The Pittsburgh Pirates are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They play in the National League Central division. The team began play in 1882 as the Alleghenies (alternately spelled "Alleghenys") in the American Association. The franchise moved to the National League after owner William Nimick became upset over a contract dispute, thus beginning the modern day franchise.From the franchise's beginning, the owner and manager fulfilled the duties of the general manager. However, in 1946, Roy Hamey left his position as president of the second American Association to become the Pirates' first general manager. The franchise's second general manager, Branch Rickey, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1967. Hired in September 2007, Neal Huntington is the Pirates's current general manager. Barney Dreyfuss purchased the franchise in 1900, bringing players including Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke with him from the Louisville Colonels, which he had previously owned. In his 32 years as owner, Dreyfuss built Forbes Field and helped to organize the World Series. Dreyfuss was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2008. Robert Nutting served as chairman of the board from 2003 to 2007, at which point he became majority owner of the franchise.

Veterans Committee
First basemen
Second basemen
Third basemen
Designated hitters
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