In Memoriam: The Late Bob Clear.

Former Houston Buff Pitcher Bob Clear Passed Away on April 6, 2010 at Age 82.

I only this morning learned that former Houston Buff pitcher Bob Clear (1951-53) passed away on April 6th at his home in California. He was 82 years old.

Bob Clear (BR/TR) (5’9″, 170 lbs.) never was a guy fans confused with the second coming of Dizzy Dean. He was never little more than a short-time, fill-in spot starter/reliever on the 1951 Texas League championship Buffs club and a regular low performing guy with the not-so-hot Buff teams of 1952 and 1953, but he was a hard worker who got by on guile and an ability to mix and locate his pitches.

Bob never made it up to the big club Cardinals during those pitcher loaded farm stock years, but he managed to ping out a pretty fair record for himself over 16 seasons in the minors (1946, 1948-61, 1967). Overall he won 162, lost 115, and posted a 3.72 career earned run average.

As a Houston Buff, Bob Clear was 1-2, 8.13 in only nine games in 1951. In 1952, Clear was 9-12, 3.45 – and 4-6, 3.35 in 1953 – and all together, not a lot to write home about.

Clear experienced his best season in baseball the year following his last 1953 Buffs year. Moving up to the 1954 AAA Omaha Cardinals, Bob recorded a 20-11 season with a 2.93 ERA. The showing still failed to earn his shot with the ’55 St. Louis club and his record for that season at Omaha slipped back to 1-10 and 4.42 in partial time service. Clear may have been injured in 1955, but I have no way to check that out at this writing.

For his career, Bob Clear posted two additional 20-plus win seasons (at Class C- level each time) for 1957 Douglas and 1960 Grand Forks. Clear’s career had a chance to end quietly in 1961 with a 4-5, 5.05 final season, but he came back on a two-game lark in 1967 at age 39 to go 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in two relief jobs for Class A Clinton.

After 1967, Bob Clear never played another inning. He eventually retired to civilian life and lived out his final days in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

Bob Clear was born on December 14, 1927 in Denver, Colorado. He gave his early productive life to baseball and he played three seasons for our Houston Buffs. That’s enough resume to make it into my memory bank.

Time flies. The last time I saw Bob Clear he was the same age and about the same size as my 25-year old son Neal is now. (Yep, my kid’s only 25. I was a late bloomer in several areas.)

Now I suddenly learn from an Internet data site on minor league baseball that young Bob Clear has recently died at age 82. Where has the time gone – for Bob Clear – and all the rest of us too, for that matter? We really don’t have a long time to be here, do we?

The death of anyone I’ve ever known always makes me think of that old poem by some anonymous author. It begins with this line: “The clock of life is wound but once and no one has the power, to know just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour.”

My positive thoughts and prayers go out to the Bob Clear family this morning.

Long live our memory of the Houston Buffs. All of them.

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One Response to “In Memoriam: The Late Bob Clear.”

  1. Mike Ross Says:

    I’ve just come across your excellent blog. Looking around the Internet, I see that Bob Clear was an Angels coach/pitching instructor from 1976-87, and was best known there for recommending that Troy Percival move from catcher to pitcher. (http://articles.latimes.com/1997-03-19/sports/sp-39713_1_battery-switch) . Rays manager Joe Maddon also considered him his most influential mentor (http://articles.latimes.com/1997-03-19/sports/sp-39713_1_battery-switch)

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