David Eugene Clyde (born April 22, 1955 in Kansas City, Kansas) is a former left-handed Major League Baseball pitcher who played for five seasons with the Texas Rangers (1973–1975) and Cleveland Indians (1978–1979). He is noted for his once promising baseball career, which ended at age 26 because of arm and shoulder injuries.
Billed as the next Sandy Koufax, Clyde had a stellar high school career at Westchester High School. He was drafted with the first overall pick in the 1973 MLB Draft. He planned to his first two professional games with the Rangers before moving down to the minor leagues, but Rangers owner Bob Short decided to keep him in the roster for monetary purposes, where he had a 5.01 earned run average in 18 starts. Journalists criticized the Rangers for promoting Clyde too soon, and after an uneventful 1974 campaign, he developed shoulder trouble and was sent down to the minor leagues in 1975, where he pitched three seasons. He was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 1978, and played two seasons before being demoted. Clyde attempted to make a comeback with the Houston Astros but was unsuccessful.
Clyde's career made him the "poster-boy" for bringing up young players prematurely and dealing with arm injuries. He was named by journalist Randy Galloway as among the worst cases of "mishandling" a young player in baseball history. He is considered by many as a savior of the Texas Rangers franchise because of the significant attendance boost that Clyde's hype brought to the team, preventing it from a possible bankruptcy or American League takeover.
By Dean Hanley
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