AP PhotoJust 18 years old, David Clyde won his major league debut for the Rangers.
The reward for that 54-100 season in 1972 was the first pick in the 1973 draft. The Rangers selected a flamethrowing left-hander named David Clyde out of Houston's Westchester High School. (The third and fourth picks that year? Two guys named Robin Yount and Dave Winfield.) In a shameless scam to sell tickets, Short announced Clyde would begin his career in the majors. While the initial plan was to have him make two starts before heading to the minors, Clyde's debut on June 27 drew 35,698 fans -- the team's largest crowd of the season. Clyde's next start drew 33,010. You can guess where this is going. David Clyde remained in the big leagues the remainder of the season.
But he was still wild and major league hitters learned to sit on his fastball. Clyde finished his rookie season 4-8 with a 5.01 ERA. As his career spiraled downward, he became on object lesson in how to mishandle a young phenom. He developed arm problems in 1976 and was done with baseball by age 26. But Bob Short had already sold the team in 1974.