December 3, 1918|
|Died: June 3, 2004
Ann Arbor, MIchigan
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|August 4, 1945 for the Ann Arbor Blazers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 4, 1945 for the Washington Senators|
|Earned run average||189.00|
|Career highlights and awards|
Joseph Christopher Cleary (December 3, 1918 – June 3, 2004), nicknamed "Fire", was a Major League Baseball pitcher for one game in 1945. The right-hander was born in Cork, and he was the last native of Ireland to appear in a major league game. He also holds the major league record for the highest ERA of any pitcher who retired a batter.
Cleary pitched one game in relief for the Washington Senators on August 4, 1945. In the 4th inning of game 2 of a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox, he gave up 8 baserunners (5 hits and 3 walks) and 7 earned runs in just ⅓ of an inning. World War II amputee Bert Shepard came in to relieve and pitched the final 5⅓ innings, giving up just one run.
He died at the age of 85 in Yonkers, New York.
His brother Timothy F Cleary, also born in Cork, was a presidential appointee and Chairman of the United States Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission ("OSHARC"). He raised 6 children in Bethesda, Md. Timothy, Maureen, Therese, Richard, Eileen and Gail Cleary.
- In the same game and inning in which Cleary pitched, Red Sox outfielder Tom McBride tied a major league record with 6 runs batted in in one inning.
- Cleary was relieved by Bert Shepard, who was also playing in his only major league game. Shepard is notable as the only one-legged player in major league history.
- Cleary's nickname was "Fire."