The Phillies Nation Top 100: #34 Jack Clements – Phillies Nation

The Phillies Nation Top 100: #34 Jack Clements

The Phillies Nation Top 100 continues today with #34. Our mission is to assess the Top 100 Phillies players of all time using impact to the Phillies, individual achievement, team achievement, traditional stats, and analytics as our criteria. The list was compiled by Ian Riccaboni and Pat Gallen with input from the rest of the Phillies Nation staff. 

From this point forward, each weekday, we will reveal two Phillies from the PN Top 100 in separate posts. To view the 2008 iteration of the list of Greatest Phillies of All Time as compiled by Tim Malcolm, please click here.

Please check back this afternoon for #33.

#34 – Jack Clements

Years: 1884-1897

.289/.352/.426, 70 HR, 54 SB in 4105 PA

Previous Rank: New to Rankings

fWAR Phillies Rank: 22nd among position players, 30th among Phillies

Born in Philadelphia during the American Civil War, Jack Clements was truly one of a kind. Clements caught 1,073 games over his 17-year career, spending parts of his career as a reserve. But those 1,073 games were record-breaking: Clements was the last-remaining regular left-handed throwing catcher when he retired in 1900. Despite the inherent disadvantages of being a left-handed catcher, Clements ranked third among his peers in defensive runs saved during his time with the Phillies.

Clements didn’t make the Top 100 because of his uniqueness: he could hit. Clements ranks first among Phillies’ catchers in fWAR, ranking fifth in batting average, tenth in OBP, and seventh in slugging. From 1884 through 1897, Clements led all catchers in homers, ranked fourth in batting average, third in doubles, ranked fifth in RBIs, and fourth in ISO. Clements had a few standout seasons. For instance, in 1890, Clements would finish third in batting average, sixth in the NL in OBP, second in slugging, and second in OPS. Clements would follow his very strong 1890 with a similarly strong 1891: Clements would finish fourth in the NL in batting, sixth in OBP, sixth in slugging, and seventh in OPS.

In 1895, Clements would hit .394, setting a still-standing single-season batting average record for catchers. Clements would retire with the single-season home run record among catchers and retire as the all-time leader in homers among catchers. Clements was an early pioneer for the then-Quakers and is one of the best catchers in Phillies history. A historical curiosity (left-handed throwing catcher, single-season record holder for batting average among catchers), Clements is one of the all-time great Phillies.






  1. Vinnie

    February 4, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Not sure of the bias behind not having left handed catchers anymore. The throw down to 3rd on a steal with right hand batters would be more difficult. A tag play at the plate, the ball would be in the right hand, which would require reaching accross the body to make the play. I’m not sure how much of a disadvantage these are.

    On the positive side, on a bunt play, it’s easier to throw around the runner going to first. It would also be easier to frame an outside pitch against a right hand batter with a right hander pitching. The throw down to 2nd on a steal would probably be no different.

    Just a couple of thoughts.

  2. Cyndi

    March 27, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    My son is 12 years old and he is proud and passionate about being a left handed catcher. We are beginning to see the stubbornness about it. The way my son see’s it is he has to throw the ball more accurate to make the plays and hit the ball harder than the right handed catcher.

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