Sunday, February 28, 2010

Final Card: Doug Clemens

Not only is this the final card for Doug Clemens (#489), but it is also his rookie card. After 7 seasons in the big leagues, Topps finally issued a baseball card for Clemens. This is especially surprising, given that he had 218 at-bats in 1964 and 340 at-bats in 1965. You would think that he at least would have had a card in 1966.

Clemens was signed by the Cardinals in 1960, and spent most of 1960-63 in the minors. His major-league debut came on the last day of the 1960 season, when he was a late-inning substitution in right field. Over the next 3 seasons, he played in 6, 48, and 5 games for the Cardinals.

In 1964, he was in the majors to stay. The Cardinals started the season with Clemens and Charley James alternating in left field, Curt Flood in center, and Johnny Lewis and Carl Warwick alternating in right. They also had veteran outfielder Bob Skinner on the bench. On June 15th, Clemens was part of a trade with the Cubs that brought Lou Brock to the Cardinals. (The Cards put Brock in left, installed Mike Shannon in right, and it was on to the World Series!)

Clemens found more playing time in Chicago than he did in St. Louis. Primarily the backup right fielder (to Len Gabrielson), he had a string of 13 starts in 14 games in August, and started the last 9 games of the season.

1965 was the high point of his career, as he collected the most games played (128), plate appearances (386), at-bats (340), runs (36), hits (75), and RBI (26) of his career. He also started 85 games in the outfield, 3rd most on the team after Billy Williams and Don Landrum. Still, he only batted .221, and after the season he was traded to the Phillies for outfielder Wes Covington.

Clemens played his final 3 seasons (1966-68) with the Phillies. He was primarily used as a pinch-hitter, but also saw occasional action at a corner outfield position. Doug spent most of 1968 at triple-A San Diego (104 games) although he did appear in 28 games for the Phillies.

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