With a career that began in 1882, John Clarkson put up pitching statistics that are simply impossible to repeat. He won 328 games in a short, 12-year career, including 53 in 1885 with the Chicago White Stockings. He won 209 games between 1885 and 1889, accomplishing in five short years a feat that few modern pitchers can manage in a career. His nervous disposition led Chicago skipper Cap Anson to trade him before the 1888 season to the Boston Beaneaters. In Boston he led the league in virtually every statistical category during the 1889 run, including pitching a mind boggling 620 innings. He finished his career with the Cleveland Spiders, where he tutored a 25-year old Cy Young.
Sadly, Clarkson was institutionalized for most of the final years of his life, suffering from depression, paranoia and alcoholism before dying of a heart attack at the age of 48.
July 20, 2011