Jack Clements: Left-Handed Catcher

June 14, 2013 § Leave a comment


19th-century baseball player Jack Clements, who played for the Philadephia Quakers/Phillies for mot of his career

Catcher Jack Clements, c 1880s (NY Public Library, A.G. Spalding Collection)

Jack Clements played from 1884-1900, and is regarded as being the last left-hander to catch regularly, as well as the first to wear a chest protector. I hope he also — at least eventually — wore a glove. According to this excellent overview of the history of the baseball mitt, the first confirmed use of a glove was in 1875, and by the 1890s wearing one was the norm.

When Clements passed away in 1941, his obituary in the New York Times read in its entirety: “NORRISTOWN, PA., May 24 (AP) — Jack Clements, former left-handed catcher who played with the Phillies, St. Louis Nationals and Cleveland Spiders in the Eighteen Nineties, died yesterday after an illness of six weeks. His age was 76.”

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