Across the street from the Church of Living Waters in Rosenberg,
Texas, the manager of the Houston Miracles stands on a floodlit
baseball diamond, ready to erupt. The Miracles, a select squad of
mostly 18-year-olds, have just committed three errors in the
first inning. "If you want to play pro ball, you can't make
stupid, careless mistakes," David Clyde yells. "There might be a
scout in the stands right now, and if there is, I'm sure he's
probably on his way out of the park."
The words provide a spark. The Miracles don't commit an error the
rest of the night and win 13-4. "You'd be stupid not to pay
attention to everything he says," says first baseman Zach
Stewart. "The guy's a legend."
In 1973, as a senior at Houston's Westchester High, the
lefthanded Clyde went 18-0 and tossed five no-hitters. On June
27, 1973, three weeks after pitching his last high school game,
Clyde--whom the Texas Rangers selected with the top pick in that
year's draft--beat the Minnesota Twins in his big league debut.
But Clyde struggled to fit in with his teammates, and by '75 his
confidence and arm were shot, as was his marriage to Cheryl
Crawford. In '81, he retired with a career mark of 18-33 and
returned to the Houston area, where he ran a lumberyard for the
next 22 years.
Next year, Walk On, a movie based on his life and slated to star
Jessica Simpson (as Crawford), is scheduled to hit theaters. But
Clyde doesn't believe his baseball story is over just yet. Just
over a month short of collecting a monthly $3,000 major league
pension, Clyde has sent out resumes to big league clubs in the
hopes of becoming a pitching coach. "I feel like I've got a lot
to offer," he says. "I just want another chance." --Lars