Induction year: 1996
Born (date, year, place): December 15, 1882 in Amherstburg, Ontario
Died (date, year, place): June 15, 1949 in River Rouge, Michigan
Primary Position: Catcher
Years Played: 1905 to 1911, 1919, 1920
Teams Played: Cleveland Naps, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Browns, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates
A product of Assumption College in Windsor, Ontario, Justin Jay Clarke spent more than 20 years in professional baseball. But it’s his remarkable performance on June 15, 1902 that the Canadian catcher is best known for. In one of the greatest exhibitions in pro sports history, Clarke belted eight home runs for Corsicana Oil City in a Texas League (Class D) game, leading his team to a 51-3 route of Texarkana. His eight home runs in that contest are still a professional record.
Clarke would graduate to the big leagues in 1905, suiting up for the Cleveland Naps and Detroit Tigers. Back in Cleveland in 1906, he would hit a career-high .358 in 57 games, earning himself starting catching duties the following campaign when he would play a career-high 120 games. After three more seasons in Cleveland, he finished his big league career with one-year stints with the St. Louis Browns (1911), Philadelphia Phillies (1919) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1920).
A strong defender and game-caller, Clarke caught the perfect game Addie Joss recorded against the Chicago White Sox on October 2, 1908 and was selected by Ty Cobb as one of the catchers on his all-time team. The Amherstburg native is also often credited with introducing shin guards to the catcher’s position in professional baseball.
Career Major League Statistics
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