Twenty seven years ago, David Clyde made his major league debut with the Texas Rangers. Clyde worked five innings, giving up one hit and striking out 8 in gaining the win against the Minnesota Twins. Clyde's career did not turn out as planned however. Arm troubles and mismanagement by the Rangers organization hindered his success. Clyde finished with a record of 18-33 over 5 seasons with the Rangers and Cleveland Indians.
As I have documented here before, I had the opportunity to sit down with Clyde in Houston to discuss his career and the aftermath. Surprisingly and refreshingly, Clyde is not bitter. He is no pollyanna, but he just doesn't care to think of the negatives. "You can't change the past, but you can learn from it and move on," said Clyde.
Clyde retired from baseball in 1981 at the age of 26. He had been traded back to the Rangers, but was released in Spring Training. After a successful year in the Houston Astros organization, Clyde retired while pitching in the Instructional League.
Clyde explained, "One day I asked myself 'What am I doing here?' and I knew it was over. I always asked 'When am I going to get on the field?'. I never questioned it negatively. At that point, I knew it was over. I wasn't being fair to the organization, because I couldn't give it everything I had. I wasn't being fair to teammates and I wasn't being fair to myself. I decided, let's get on with our lives while we're still young enough to make something of it."
After baseball, Clyde moved on to the lumber business. After about 23 years of success, Clyde retired from that business.
Over the last decade or so, Clyde has been at the Miracles Baseball Academy. The owner approached Clyde about building materials while Clyde was still in the lumber business. Clyde donated the materials and eventually came on board as a full-time coach.
Clyde is very committed to his students. He does all he can to prepare them for whatever the future holds.
Clyde said, "My goal is to steer the kids in the right direction, give them the proper fundamental base and hopefully they can enjoy the game better. I try to give them every opportunity for success, while (Clyde is) absorbing all the pressure."
Having jumped from high school to the big leagues, Clyde knows all about pressure. Clyde says he "felt my talent had to make that jump also." He tries to teach his students to stay within themselves and not overdo it.
Speaking to Clyde, I couldn't help but feel positive. The man has been through stuff that would have crushed others, but he remains positive and wants to protect kids from the pitfalls he faced and other problems. Meeting and talking to Clyde was one of the best experiences I ever had.
I couldn't let the chance go without asking Clyde about baseball cards. Clyde responded, "I threw out bags of them. I had 3-4 Mantle rookie cards, but back then they weren't like they are today." As for his cards, Clyde said, "I'm not one who likes to sit and talk about myself. Don't get me wrong, I am happy and proud of them, but at the same time, it's not that big of a deal."
What does Clyde want for his future? "Good health, a happy life and I hope to continue to passing on to kids what I have been passing on," Clyde says (although he wouldn't mind being 25 years younger and making $25 million a year).