July 24, 1864|
|Died: May 23, 1941
|April 22, 1884, for the Philadelphia Keystones|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 2, 1900, for the Boston Beaneaters|
|Career highlights and awards|
John J. "Jack" Clements (July 24, 1864 – May 23, 1941) was an American professional baseball player. He played as a catcher in Major League Baseball for 17 seasons. Despite being left-handed, Clements caught 1,073 games, almost four times as many as any other left-handed player in major league history  and was the last left-hander to catch on a regular basis. He is credited with being the first catcher to wear a chest protector.
Born in Philadelphia, Clements began his major league career in 1884 in the Union Association. He played as a catcher/outfielder for the Philadelphia Keystones until the team folded in August. Clements then went to the National League, signing with the Philadelphia Quakers to finish the year.
Clements spent the next 13 seasons with the Quakers (who became the Phillies in 1890), and became the team's regular catcher in 1888. He also served as a player-manager during part of the 1890 season when manager Harry Wright suffered temporary blindness. During the 1890s, he established himself as one of the National League's top hitters, finishing among the top 4 in batting average on 3 occasions. Clements also hit for power, finishing second in the NL with 17 home runs in 1893 and finishing third in the NL with 13 in 1895. Also in 1895, he finished with a .394 batting average, the highest single-season average by a catcher in major league history.
After the 1897 season, Clements was traded to the St. Louis Browns. He played one season for the Browns, during which he became the first player (of either handedness) to catch 1,000 games in his career.
Before the 1899 season, Clements was assigned to the Cleveland Spiders. The move took place after Spiders owners Frank and Stanley Robison purchased the Browns and re-distributed players among the two franchises. Clements appeared in only 4 games for the Spiders before being released.
At the time of his retirement, he held the single-season and career records for home runs by a catcher. Both of his records were broken by Gabby Hartnett in the 1920s; the single-season record fell in 1925, while the career record fell in 1928. Clements is also the only 19th-century baseball player of prominence to retire with more home runs than triples.
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