Friday, September 26, 2014

no. 333 - clay kirby

Who is the man: Clay Kirby recovered somewhat from losing 20 games in his rookie season for the 1969 rookie Padres by going 10-16 with a 4.56 ERA in his sophomore year with San Diego.

Can ya dig it: Batting helmet on a pitcher. Got to love it.

Right on: The first card after a subset is much like the first lines of a play after intermission.

You see this cat Kirby is a bad mother: Kirby went 15-13 with 231 strikeouts in 1971. He was the first Padres pitcher to surpass 200 strikeouts and the first Padre with a winning record with more than 12 decisions.

Shut your mouth: The Padres haven't thrown a no-hitter, and Kirby is often cited as one of the pitchers that came closest to doing so. In 1970, Kirby was no-hitting the Mets, despite trailing 1-0, when Padres manager Preston Gomez yanked him for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning in hopes of generating some offense. It didn't work and the Padres still don't have a no-hitter. Four years later, Kirby was a member of the Reds and the Astros'  Don Wilson was no-hitting them. Preston Gomez was the Astros' manager and Wilson was losing the game 2-1 in the eighth. The Reds' Don Gullett asked Kirby if he thought Gomez would yank Wilson. "I guarantee it," Kirby said. He was right. Wilson was pulled and the Astros lost 2-1.

No one understands him but his woman: Kirby lost two other no-hitters in the eighth inning in 1971, one to the Astros and one to the Giants.

(A word about the back): The first sentence of his bio tries very hard not to reference how many games he lost in 1969. It does pretty good at it.

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