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Clint Courtney

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  • Clint Courtney

    Clint "Scrap Iron" Courtney turns 78 tomorrow. The first catcher to wear glasses, Courtney was better known as a fearless battler. Obtained by the Browns at the request of manager Rogers Hornsby, Courtney was TSN AL Rookie of the Year in 1952 (.286, 5 HR, 50 RBI, 116 G). He twice batted over .300 as a platoon player. "Scrap Iron's" most famous baseball brawl came in 1953 when the Browns met the Yankees. Courtney and Phil Rizzuto collided at second base, and Billy Martin jumped on Courtney in a wild melee that nearly provoked a riot among the few fans at St. Louis. The incident produced a then-AL record $850 in fines. Courtney died on June 16, 1975 while manager of Richmond (International League), exactly two years to the day after he was hired for the position.

    The Courtney Highlights:

    November 23, 1951: The Yankees send young C Clint Courtney to the Browns for P Jim McDonald. Courtney, the first major league catcher to wear glasses, appeared in one game for New York.

    » July 16, 1953: The Browns tie a record with three successive HRs -- by Clint Courtney, Dick Kryhoski, and Jim Dyck -- in the first inning. Their five bases-empty HRs in three innings establishes a new mark. It's enough to beat the Yankees 8-6.

    » April 15, 1954: The Orioles Clint Courtney hits the first home run in Memorial Stadium. Following a 90-minute parade, they draw an Opening Day record crowd of 46,354 in a 3–1 afternoon win against the White Sox. Bob Turley strikes out nine in besting Virgil Trucks. Vern Stephens and Clint Courtney homer for the O's.

    » June 6, 1954: C Clint Courtney of the Orioles makes an unassisted DP in a 7-5 win against the Yankees.

    » August 29, 1954: Orioles bespectacled C Clint Courtney goes 5-for-5, as Baltimore defeats the Senators 5-0.

    » December 6, 1954: The Orioles conclude their 2nd large trade in three weeks sending C Clint Courtney, SS Jim Brideweser, and P Bob Chakales to the White Sox for C Matt Batts, infielder Fred Marsh, and pitchers Don Johnson and Don Ferrarese. Courtney batted .270 in 397 at bats, and struck out an American League-low seven times, the league's lowest since Joe Sewell hung up his spikes in 1933.

    » April 3, 1960: The Orioles pick up C Clint Courtney, along with SS Ron Samford, from the Senators for 2B Billy Gardner.

    » May 27, 1960: Since there is no rule limiting the size or shape of the catcher's mitt, Baltimore manager Paul Richards combats the passed-ball problem while catching Hoyt Wilhelm (38 in 1959; 11 so far this year) by devising an oversized mitt to gather in Hoyt's fluttering knuckler. It is half again as large as the standard glove and 40 ounces heavier. Wilhelm goes the distance in beating New York 3–2 at Yankee Stadium. Clint Courtney has no passed balls behind the plate.

    » June 19, 1960: In a brilliant pair of pitching performances, the Orioles Hoyt Wilhelm and Milt Pappas throw shutouts to beat the host Tigers. Wilhelm allows two hits in winning the opener, 2–0, over Bunning, and Pappas allows three hits in winning the nitecap, 1–0, over Don Mossi. Gentile and Hansen homer in the opener as Clint Courtney, using the big glove, is twice charged with batter interference, the 1st loading the bases in the 4th.

    » August 15, 1960: Behind Art Ditmar's 5-hitter and Mickey Mantle's two home runs, off Jerry Walker and Hoyt Wilhelm, New York cops a 4–3 win and first place in the American League. The 2nd home run comes after C Clint Courtney drops a Mantle foul pop-up. Baltimore's loss is only its 2nd in the last 15 games. Baltimore and Chicago now trail by a half-game.

    Courtney died on June 16, 1975 while manager of Richmond (International League), exactly two years to the day after he was hired for the position.

  • #2
    "Scrap Iron" Courtney

    Clint always gave 100% and he was never too busy to sign autographs for the Knothole Gang. The above was an excellent retrospective on his time with the Browns and Orioles. I wish he could have nailed Billy Martin but Martin was apparently very fast with his hands. The St Louis papers showed pics of Clint after the battle with his wire rimmed glasses hanging off of one ear and his face all scratched up. If all of the Brownies would have played with Clint's gusto they would have been perennial contenders.


    • #3
      Clint was the man !

      what a wild one...not much of a pure hitter, but was a great catcher,
      and could call a good game..Clint took no guff off his pitchers.
      Man could he hit with his fists..One year, he whipped on Mantle,
      during a Senators-Yanks brawl..and darn near caused a riot, in Briggs stadium, by getting on, and spooking the Tigers bench..Had glasses, as thick as
      coca cola bottles...Don't make 'em like Clint anymore..God bless, his soul !
      Last edited by Macker; 12-02-2007, 04:54 PM. Reason: was "what a wild mofo"


      • #4
        "He's the meanest man I ever met, but I'm glad he's on my side. He's a great catcher, a kid I like to see hitting for me with the winning run on third and one out."

        - Satchell Paige

        1953 was a great year for baseball cards, here's the Bowman:

        And he is looking rather professorial on the Topps:
        Attached Files


        • #5
          clint also happend to be one of the most violent players in the era he played in.
          him and billy martin-two wakoos...

          courtney was one of two crazy fistfight lovers.
          billy martin and clint courtne, two nut jobs.


          • #6
            Originally posted by portobob
            If all of the Brownies would have played with Clint's gusto they would have been perennial contenders.
            Well, maybe they would have been contenders in the Roller Derby league, but as for the AL, forget about it. If you look up old Scrap-Iron's career numbers, very average and that's being a bit kind. I think Herzog said in his book Courtney developed a problem with tossing the ball back to the pitcher for some reason. Still, to last for a decade back in the days when there was only 16 teams means he did have some talent. But he was a true character, something the Browns always had plenty of. Just too bad they weren't better bb players.
            It Might Be? It Could Be?? It Is!


            • #7

              just discovered your thread. I was 14 when Clint coached for the Houston Colt 45s and got in a fist fight with Lee May. I grew up in a neighborhood where sandlot baseball was BIG. It was great to have and uncle that played pro ball and my friend gave me their Clint baseball cards. He was a great friend to the kids in our family and we enjoyed his visits. His 2 sons are medical doctors now (one in Fla and Tex) and has 2 daughters that still live in Louisiana. They are all very close and look after one another . Clints wife died about 8 years ago and one of his daughters Kathleen died about 5 years ago of a Pancreatic cyst. His Family always speak of him fondly and his oldest son named his frst born son Clint .


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