Horace Meredith Clarke (born June 2, 1940 in Frederiksted, St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands) is a former Major League Baseball player. A second baseman, he played for the New York Yankees and the San Diego Padres from 1965 to 1974.
He was signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent in 1958. He made his Major League Baseball debut on May 13, 1965. In his rookie season of 1966, Clarke, sharing shortstop duties with Tom Tresh after Tony Kubek's retirement before the start of the season, batted .266 with six home runs and 28 runs batted in. In 1967, he became the Yankees' regular second baseman upon the retirement of longtime veteran Bobby Richardson. In 10 seasons, he hit .256, with 27 home runs and 304 RBIs. In the space of one month in 1970, he broke up three possible no-hitters in the ninth inning (Jim Rooker on June 4, Sonny Siebert on June 19 and, Joe Niekro on July 2). That season, Clarke made 732 plate appearances (batting 686 times officially). As a fielder, though, the knock on Clarke was that he would not turn the double play with runners barreling in. Few ever took him out with a slide, but Clarke would hold the ball after leaping.
Clarke was sold to the San Diego Padres on May 31, 1974, for $25,000. He retired at the end of the 1974 season. After his retirement, he worked as a baseball instructor for the Virgin Islands Department of Recreation and as an assistant scout for the Kansas City Royals.
Clarke and Joe Mauer are the only hitters ever to break up three no-hitter bids in the ninth inning.
- ^ Royals lose in 12 innings; Rooker blows no-hit game
- ^ Clarke spoils 2nd no-hitter
- ^ Clarke the spoiler ruins 3rd no-hitter
- ^ Short, D.J. (25 May 2014). "Joe Mauer has broken up three no-hitters in the ninth inning during his career". NBC Sports. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
By Dean Hanley
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