Monday, May 14, 2012

the last book I ever read (Seasons in Hell, excerpt four)

from Mike Shropshire's Seasons in Hell:

David Clyde, the high school pitching phee-nom and Number One choice in the amateur draft, would be pressed into immediate service as a starting pitcher in the major leagues.

True, Clyde's statistical credentials were overwhelming. In his last two season, against a level of high school competition that was perhaps as good as any in the country, he'd compiled a 35-2 record and was 18-0 as a senior with fourteen shutouts and five no-hitters. A Phillies scout, Lou Fitzgerald, had said, "I watched Clyde pitch three innings and left. Why waste time? We're picking second."

By drafting David Clyde, the Rangers bypassed two players who would probably wind up in Cooperstown--Dave Winfield and Robin Yount. Between them, they would collect over 6,000 major-league base hits.

Three other players taken in the first round of the 1973 draft, John Stearns, Lee Mazzilli and Gary Roenicke, went on to long and productive big-league careers. Interestingly, the Rangers' third round pick, Len Barker, emerged as a quality big-league starter (with the Indians) who would pitch a perfect game against Toronto in 1981.

At the time, no scout in baseball disputed that the Rangers did the right thing by claiming Clyde as their top pick, but the idea of bringing the prize stud directly into The Show left Herzog shaking his head. "This ain't high school. Up here, he'll find the strike zone shrinking fast and he won't find any 130-pound kids swinging at the high one.

"Another thing," Herzog cautioned, "in high school Clyde has been used to great success. In this league there will come the time when he can't get anybody out and that can really pull a kid down."

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