Friday, July 28, 2017

Horace Clarke (#263)

Here is Yankees’ 2nd baseman Horace Clarke. Horace played for the Yankees from 1965-74, and is one of 3 Yankees (along with Mel Stottlemyre and Roy White) to bridge the gap between the Mantle/Maris/Ford era and the Munson/Nettles/Murcer/Piniella era.

Clarke (a native of the US Virgin Islands) began his career in 1958 with the Yankees’ Class-D team in Kearney, Nebraska. After six seasons as a shortstop, he switched to 2nd base in 1964 (his 2nd season in triple-A).

Horace began the 1965 season in triple-A, but made his Yankees’ debut in mid-May, playing in 51 games that year, including 21 starts (mostly at 3rd base).

Long-time shortstop Tony Kubek retired after the 1965 season, so the Yankees moved 3rd baseman Clete Boyer to SS for the first half of the 1966 season, then Clarke started almost every game at shortstop during July and August. In September Horace moved over to 2nd base (replacing the soon-to-retire Bobby Richardson) to make room for September call-up Bobby Murcer.

Clarke was a fixture at 2nd base for the Yankees from 1967 through 1973. Over that 7-year period, he played more games (1059) and started more games at one position (1017) than any other Yankee. Roy White was a distant 2nd with 985 games played and 875 outfield starts.

After playing sparingly (9 starts) over the first 2 months of the 1974 season, Clarke and pitcher Lowell Palmer were dealt to the Padres at the end of May. Horace finished out his 10th and final season as the Padres’ 3rd-string 2nd baseman, behind Derrel Thomas and Glenn Beckert.

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