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The 10 most under-appreciated players of the 1980s: #9 Jim Clancy

Posted by Andy
Jim Clancy doesn't get a lot of positive press. On the old Baseball-Reference blog, he was mentioned for things like having the most losses of the 1980s or a terrible start where he allowed allowed 7 runs without retiring a batter.

But remember that a pitcher who started enough games to garner the most losses in a decade must have been pretty good.

And, in fact, he was.

Only 10 pitchers had at least 5 seasons between 1980 and 1987 with 120 IP and an ERA+ of at least 109:

SPOILERS!!! (Dave Stieb is going to appear on this countdown...)

Clancy, Stieb, and Morris are the only ones with at least 3 seasons with 240 IP and a 120 ERA+ over that same period.

Over that same period, Clancy was a top-20 pitcher in WAR, and that's even with his stinker seasons in 1981 and 1984.

By the late 1980s, Clancy was remembered only as a guy who put up those stinker seasons (and a few more after 1987). How quickly we all forgot that he was a top starting pitcher for numerous seasons earlier in the decade.

The card is 1985 Donruss #439, and it's one of my favorites. I love how the angled line on the wall behind Clancy runs into the V-neck of his uniform. The angles on the Blue Jays logo as well as his tilted eyebrows all add to the angled feel of this card. Tie in Clancy's tough-as-nails smile and it's a wonderful card. The only weird thing is that Clancy was rarely photographed without his mustache.

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