Bryan Clark

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Bryan Donald Clark

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Biographical Information[edit]

Bryan Clark was drafted 226th overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1974 and proved pretty quickly that his control was suspect. For example, in his second year, he walked 138 batters in 131 innings of work. Used mostly as a starter, he posted ERAs as high as 7.11 and walked over 100 batters four times. Even in his best season in the minors, a 14-5 season with a 2.64 ERA for the Alexandria Mariners in 1979, he still walked 112 batters in 167 innings. But he had an excellent fastball, and his pitching style made him a dead ringer for Vida Blue.

Clark made his big league debut on April 11, 1981 against the California Angels. Although he was a pitcher, he was used in a rather unorthodox way in his debut - the Seattle Mariners (who purchased him from the Pirates in 1978) used him as a pinch runner. He spent the rest of his career trying to find his niche. He was used both as a starter and reliever, with his best season being 1982, when he went 5-2 with a 2.75 ERA in 37 games, mostly in relief for Seattle. He pitched his only shutout that year, on September 25 against the Blue Jays. He gave up six hits, walked one and struck out two. He was considered to be on the verge of stardom at this point, but would never again match those numbers.

After a 7-10, 3.94 season as a swingman for the Mariners in 1983, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Barry Bonnell. He made 20 appearances there, moved to the Cleveland Indians for a tough 1985 (3-4, 6.32, 2 saves in 31 games), then spent parts of the next two seasons coming out of the Chicago White Sox bullpen. He briefly resurfaced back in Seattle in 1990, with a 2-0, 3.27 record in relief, and made his final appearance on May 30.

In the end, he posted a 20-23 record with a 4.15 ERA in 516 1/3 innings of work, walking 261 and striking out 259, with a .965 fielding percentage. He made a couple of leaderboards, finishing sixth in the league in wild pitches in 1981 (7), and fourth in wild pitches in 1983 (10). If similarity scores are your bag, he is most similar to Rich Folkers, another left-hander with good stuff but control issues who was shuttled between the starting rotation and the bullpen. His most common teammates were All-Star Dave Henderson, Jim Maler, Dave Edler and Bob Stoddard. The numbers he wore as a big leaguer include 35, 43, 45, 47 and 48.

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