Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.

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A grateful pitcher recalls Archie Clark in CF

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: July 12, 2014 - 6:03 AM

Mike McNair had a 1.43 ERA for the Minnesota Gophers in 1966. The last accounting I can find places that as third all-time for the Gophers, for qualified pitchers (40 innings or more) in a single season.

McNair sent me an e-mail, not to draw attention to himself but to add more insight to last Sunday’s piece on Archie Clark as a baseball player, as well as a basketball star, for the Gophers.

From McNair:

“I enjoyed the piece about Archie and baseball. I was in the Chief’s [coach Dick Siebert] rotation in 1966 when Archie was a senior.

“With the caveat that all memory is fiction, I recall pitching a 2-0 game, at home vs. Iowa and Archie had seven putouts in center, at least one of which was a home run take away. I led the Big 10 in ERA that year thanks to that catch.

“He also scored the second run on a bunt single, a steal of second, a steal of third and yes, a steal of home -- with a beautiful head-first slide and a left hand slap of home plate avoiding the catcher’s attempted tag.

“You had to be there.

“I have followed baseball all of my life and have never seen a better center fielder.

“The year before, 1965,when we went to Texas, Archie was the target of the most-racist taunts imaginable at UT [ University of Texas] in Austin.  To this day, I do not understand how he suffered them with dignity. He truly was a man among boys.’’


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