Friday, February 28, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #89 - Ken Clay

  • Ken Clay was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1972. Clay pitched in the minors from 1972-1977. 
  • Ken started the 1977 season with a nice 5-1 record for AAA Syracuse. Clay was called up in June. He wasn't all that great as a starter, but he had some success as a long reliever. Clay went 2-3 with 1 save and had a 4.37 ERA in 21 games (3 starts).
  • Clay had his best year in 1978. He was used as a long reliever and a spot starter. Ken spent most of July on the disabled list with a sore shoulder. Clay pitched effectively in game 1 of the AL Championship series and earned the save.
  • Ken had a rough time in 1979. He went 1-7 and his ERA jumped to 5.70. 
  • Clay started the 1980 season in AAA Columbus. In August Ken was traded to the Texas Rangers for Gaylord Perry. Clay  made eight starts for the Rangers and went 2-3 with a 4.60 ERA.
  • After the 1980 season Clay was traded to the Seattle Mariners. Ken started the 1981 season 0-3 with a 7.03 ERA and he was sent to the bullpen by manager Maury Wills. After the strike new manager Rene Lachemann gave Clay another chance in the rotation. Ken pitched better (2-3, 3.64 ERA in 10 starts).
  • Ken didn't make the Mariners club in 1982 and he decided to retire rather than trying to latch on with another team. Clay retired with a lifetime record of 10-24 in five seasons.
  • After his pitching career Clay had several run-ins with the law. He was convicted of various theft, forgery, and larceny crimes starting in 1986. Ken served two jail terms. He was most recently released from jail in 2012 and now lives in his hometown of Lynchburg, VA.
  • 1978 Stats: 
    • Regular Season: 3-4, 4.28 ERA in 28 games (6 starts)
    • AL Championship Series: 0-0, 0.00 ERA in 1 game (3.2 innings pitched)
    • World Series: 0-0, 11.57 ERA in 1 game (2.1 innings pitched)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 21 - Made his first start of the season and allowed only an unearned run in seven innings pitched to earn his first win of the year. The Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-1.
    • Sept 7 - Entered the game in the 4th inning to replace the injured Catfish Hunter. Allowed one run in six innings to earn the win as the Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 15-3.
    • Oct 3 - Pitched 3 2/3 shutout innings and earned the win in game 1 of the AL Championship Series. The Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals 7-1.