Clyde Barnhart

Clyde Barnhart

3B, OF
December 29, 1895
5' 10"
155 lbs
Major League Debut:
9-22-1920 with PIT

During the 1920’s, the Pirates certainly had their share of hitters.  No one could attest more to the level of competition for a starting position than Clyde Barnhart, a lifetime .295 hitter who lost playing time first to Pie Traynor at third and, after moving to the outfield, to Kiki Cuyler and the Waner brothers.   

Barnhart came up in 1920 and showed promise by batting .326 late in the season.  He won the thirdbase job in 1921, but was somewhat disappointing at the plate (.258) and his range was limited.  The emergence of Traynor in ’22 moved Barnhart to a backup role, but his hitting developed as he raised his average up to .330 and took over rightfield when Reb Russell failed to become the National League’s version of Babe Ruth.  Barnhart increased his power numbers as well and drove in 72 runs in only 114 games. 

His righthanded bat got into the lineup as both Russell and Carson Bigbee were lefthanded hitters.Barnhart’s batting was a less than acceptable .276 considering he hit only three homers in 1924 and he lost his chance for regular playing time to Cuyler, but when Bigbee’s sinus problems continued to deteriorate his skills, Barnhart got another chance to show his abilities in 1925 and he contributed mightily to the team’s pennant push, batting .325 and driving in 114 as he settled into the club’s cleanup spot.  Clyde hit .250 with five rbi’s in the World Series win against Washington.  He had a pair of hits and rbi’s as well as a run scored and a stolen base in the Pirate’s Game 5, 6-3 win and drove in the Corsair’s first run in the team’s come from behind 3-2 win in Game 6.  With the team down 4-2 in the third inning of Game 7, Barnhart brought the Bucs to within a run with a two-out basehit.
Barnhart had a bulky, powerful build, but was not an especially skilled defensive outfielder and his arm did not have the zip of his outfield mates.  When he failed to hit in 1926, he failed to keep his job and rookie Paul Waner took over his slot in 1926 as the veteran hit only .192 with three doubles to show in the extrabase hit column in a year in which he was hampered by inuries.  Still, with the dismissals of Bigbee and Max Carey during the latter part of 1926, Barnhart figured to open 1927 in the starting lineup.  Unfortunately for him, the Pirates had come up with another future Hall of Famer named Waner, Paul’s brother, Lloyd.  Barnhart, who came into camp overweight, lost out as the much faster youngster stole the berth.
It was lucky for the Pirates that they had not gotten rid of Clyde.  When Cuyler was injured and later permanently benched by Manager Donie Bush, Barnhart filled in wonderfully, hitting .319.  Through most of the year,despite not having as many at bats at the “regulars,” Barnhart was among the league leaders in hitting.  Not overwhelmed by the Yankee Mystique in the World Series, Barnhart recovered from a late season injury to hit .313 in the Fall Classic and led the Pirates by driving in four of the team’s ten runs.
Playing less in 1928, Barnhart still hit .298, but in what today would be seen as a weird move, he was traded to Indianapolis for Adam Comorosky late in the season.  Comorosky had had a terrific year in the American Association and the Pirates attempted to recall him for their pennant drive.   But Indy was also in a tight race and refused to return him unless they received a hitter to replace him in their lineup.  Barnhart was the man to go.  He was quickly returned to the Pirates after the season, but the Bucs again dealt him to Indianapolis, this time for pitcher Steve Swetonic, ending his major league career after at least parts of nine seasons in Pittsburgh.
Barnhart’s son, Vic, played some shortstop for the Pirates during World War II. Clyde lived to the age of 85,

Clyde Barnhart, Pittsburgh Pirates
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