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Brewers A-Z: Mark Clear

This reliever was only a Brewer for three seasons, but appeared on a lot of baseball cards.

Mark Clear's 1987 Topps card, #640
Mark Clear's 1987 Topps card, #640
Author's personal collection.

Longtime major league reliever Mark Clear was only a Brewer for three seasons, but you'd never know it from looking at his baseball cards.

Clear was an Angel in 1979 and 1980, racking up 22 wins despite never starting a game. He was a late inning reliever before closers were a thing, winning 71 games and recording 83 saves over 481 major league appearances. In 1982 for Boston he won 14 games in relief, a feat that has not been exceeded since (although Brewer Jim Slaton did tie it in 1983).

The Red Sox traded Clear to Milwaukee in December of 1985 and he made 59 relief appearances in 1986, posting a 2.20 ERA in 73.2 innings. That was enough to get him on a bunch of baseball cards the next season. Here's his 1987 Donruss, #355:


And his Fleer, #341:


And, of course, his iconic 1987 Topps, #640:


Clear came back to Earth in 1987, allowing a 4.48 ERA in 58 appearances (including his first major league start). Maybe that's why I only have one of his 1988 cards, Donruss #372:


Clear only appeared in 25 games in 1988, posting a 2.79 ERA and walking 6.5 batters per nine innings. He was back on baseball cards again in 1989, though, starting with Donruss #528:


And finally, here's 1989 Fleer #182:


By this point, though, Clear's career was mostly over. He didn't appear in the majors in 1989, and pitched in just four games as a member of the 1990 Angels. He finished his career with 804.1 innings pitched and a 3.85 ERA.

With help from and the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:

Today is also the 32nd anniversary of a 1981 trade that brought pitcher Randy Lerch from Philadelphia to Milwaukee. We covered that event in Today In Brewer History last year.

After over 500 installments spanning two seasons and a full offseason, there are some days where I've exhausted all of the available content for Today In Brewer History. Brewers A-Z is a supplemental feature to help fill in the gaps in my historical calendar. You can see past installments in the series in its special section.