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June 27, 2010

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EXCERPT | July 9, 1973

Kid's Stuff

David Clyde came up aces in his major league debut

On June 27, 19 days after he graduated from high school, Clyde took the mound for his first big league start. Ron Fimrite reported for SI.

It is a date that shall live in infancy, for on this night in Arlington Stadium, David Clyde, a stripling of 18, began his major league career by pitching the Rangers to a 4--3 win over the Twins. The lad went five innings, threw 112 pitches, struck out eight, walked seven and allowed only one hit, a two-run homer. It was a startling performance for a youngster only 19 days out of Houston's Westchester High, but it was much more than that—an awakening of interest, perhaps, in a community that has steadfastly ignored its baseball team.

Clyde, at least, is not easily ignored. He is a lefthanded fastball pitcher whose achievements at Westchester High—an 18--0 record in his senior year with an earned run average of 0.18 and 328 strikeouts in 148 1/3 innings—were trumpeted throughout the state. The first player selected in the June 5 major league draft, he had been judged by virtually every scout who saw him as the finest schoolboy pitcher in the nation. He was signed by the Rangers to a contract that called for a bonus of approximately $125,000 and a free college education. And as his numberless interviews over the past few weeks established, he is a teenager of extraordinary tact and maturity, one who is humble, courteous and agreeably respectful of his elders. He has curly brown hair, wide blue eyes and a bashful smile. He is 6'1" and he weighs a muscular 190. He is obviously a creation of the late lamented Ralph Henry Barbour.

Plagued by arm trouble, Clyde went 18--33 in five major league seasons. In 1981 he returned to the Houston area and now coaches young pitchers.

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PHOTOPhotograph by TONY TRIOLOFLAME OUT An 18-year-old Clyde drew the first sellout in Rangers history, but his descent was nearly as steep as his rise: He went 3--8 the rest of the way, then lost 10 straight in 1974 and '75. PHOTOROBERT HUNTZINGER PHOTOMANNY MILLAN PHOTORICHARD MACKSON PHOTOTONY GUTIERREZ/AP (VALENTINE) PHOTOJAY LAPRETE/AP (BARNES) PHOTOSIMON BRUTY (COULIBALY) PHOTOSIMON BRUTY (FAN) PHOTOBOB ROSATO (BRYANT) PHOTOJOHN BIEVER (WALL) PHOTO

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)