Joe Cleary

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Joe Cleary
Born: (1918-12-03)December 3, 1918
Cork, Ireland
Died: June 3, 2004(2004-06-03) (aged 85)
Yonkers, New York
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 4, 1945, for the Washington Senators
Last MLB appearance
August 4, 1945, for the Washington Senators
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 0–0
Earned run average 189.00
Strikeouts 1

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 13 of an inning. World War II amputee Bert Shepard came in to relieve and pitched the final 513 innings, giving up just one run.

In Cleary's short MLB career he had a 0–0 record with 1 strikeout and an ERA of 189.00.

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, Maryland 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."

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