Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Clay Dalrymple (#151)

Clay Dalrymple had two cards in the 1969 set - both #151. Unlike Donn Clendenon, who also had 2 cards in 1969, Dalrymple's cards used different photographs.

Clay began playing minor-league ball in 1956. He played 4 seasons in the minors, mostly with the unaffiliated Sacramento Solons in the Pacific Coast League. In 1959, Sacramento became part of the Milwaukee Braves farm system. After the 1959 season, the Phillies selected him in the Rule 5 draft.

As a Rule 5 pick, he remained on the roster for the entire 1960 season as the 3rd-string catcher behind fellow rookie Jimmie Coker and journeyman Cal Neeman.

Clay took over the starting job from day 1 of the 1961 season, making 107 starts behind the plate (88 more than the #2 catcher). He also started 107 games in 1962, and increased his playing time in 1963 (135 starts). Clay's best offensive seasons were 1962 and 1963. After that, his playing time and production would begin to taper off, then plummet in his last 2 seasons in Philadelphia.

The Phillies acquired veteran catcher Gus Triandos in the Jim Bunning trade prior to the 1964 season. Triandos had been the Orioles' regular catcher from 1955-61, and started 1/3 of the Phillies games in 1964, leaving 2/3 of the starts to Dalrymple.

Clay lost more playing time in 1965, as rookie catcher Pat Corrales joined the team as the #2 catcher. Eventually, Dalrymple was platooned, with Bob Uecker in 1966 and the start of 1967, with Gene Oliver for the 2nd half of 1967, and with the newly-acquired Mike Ryan in 1968. Ryan was a great defensive catcher who barely hit .200, but by that time Dalrymple's average had dropped to the Mendoza line as well.

In January 1969, Clay was traded to the Orioles for rookie outfield prospect Ron Stone. He would play for 3 seasons as Baltimore's 3rd-string catcher, and went 2-for-2 in the 1969 World Series. He retired after the 1971 season.

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