Butch McCord

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Clinton Hill McCord

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Biographical Information[edit]

Butch McCord was a minor league star who played four seasons in AAA but never got another call to the majors after appearing as a back-up player for the Baltimore Elite Giants in 1948, the final season when the Negro National League had major league status.

He served in the Marines in 1944 and 1945. He attended Tennessee State University on a football scholarship as the school had no baseball team. After Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers, one of his coaches advised him to switch to baseball. He got in touch with former Nashville owner Tom Wilson, who helped arrange for him to join the Nashville Cubs, a minor black team. He moved on to the Nashville Black Vols of the Negro Southern League in 1947. He made it to the top Negro Leagues in 1948 with the Baltimore Elite Giants. He hit .269 for the Elite Giants in 1949 and .349 for the Chicago American Giants in 1950.

He joined organized baseball in 1951, hitting .363 for the Paris Lakers his first year, with 132 runs, 118 RBI, 102 walks, 22 swipes and 16 home runs. He led the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League in average (by two points), in slugging (47 points ahead of Lou Bekeza), in runs, in hits (173), in total bases (41 points ahead of Quincy Smith) and in homers (tied with Bekeza). His 38 doubles were second, two behind Bekeza, and he was 4th with 12 triples.

Back with Paris in 1952, he put on one heck of a show with fellow former Negro Leaguer Jim Zapp. McCord hit .392/.471/.631 with 123 runs, 40 doubles, 15 triples, 15 home runs, 20 steals, 67 walks and 109 RBI while only striking out 14 times in 119 games. The team held a Clinton McCord Night in his honor. He led the league in average (42 points better than runner-up John Streza), OBP (12 points ahead of Streza), slugging (68 points ahead of Zapp), total bases (304, 41 more than Zapp), hits (189, 24 ahead of Virl Minnis), putouts at 1B (1,009), fielding percentage at 1B (.991, .008 ahead of the next-best starter) and assists at 1B (50). He was second in RBI (27 behind Zapp), doubles (two behind Julian Acosta), runs (one less than Quincy Smith), home runs (5 shy of Zapp) and triples (one behind Carlos Paula). About the only categories he did not finish first or second in were walks, strikeouts, steals or errors at 1B.

McCord played for the Denver Bears in 1953 and 1954. He hit a more human .281/.347/.408 the first year, adjusting to the higher caliber of play; he did lead Western League first basemen in fielding percentage at .991. The next year, he batted .358/.400/.537 and fielded .996; had he qualified, he would have won the batting title by 15 points over Joe Kirrene and would have led first basemen in fielding. His team won the WL title. Bill White was named the league's All-Star 1B.

Clint was 29 years old when he made it to AAA with the 1955 Richmond Virginians; he produced at a .258/.318/.361 clip with 9 triples and his fielding percentage fell to .987. He also was the first black player in the Virginia team's history. He did tie Steve Demeter and Mickey Micelotta for 4th in the 1955 International League in three-baggers. In 1956, he batted .275/.344/.383 and fielded .992 for the Columbus Jets. With the 1957 Louisville Colonels, the veteran put up a batting line of .267/.320/.392 with 30 doubles, 9 triples and 73 runs, while fielding .994. He tied Chico Garcia for 11th in the 1957 American Association in doubles and tied for 7th in triples. Despite his fine fielding percentage, he was only third among AA first basemen that year, trailing Lou Limmer and (surprisingly) Marv Throneberry.

The Nashville native dropped down to the Macon Dodgers in 1958, hitting .305/?/?.447 with 37 doubles. He was third in the South Atlantic League with 153 hits (between Leo Burke and Carl Warwick) and led in doubles, four ahead of Burke. He played for the 1959 Victoria Rosebuds and batted .298/.360/.430 with 27 doubles, 6 triples and 83 runs. He tied for fifth in the Texas League in doubles. Still possessing a great strike-zone judgement, he only struck out 31 times in 526 AB. He split 1959 between Victoria (.300/.378/.400 in 117 G) and the St. Paul Saints (15 for 56, 3B, HR, 4 BB). He fielded a near-perfect .998, leading the TL. He ended his playing career at age 35 in 1960, with the Victoria/Ardmore Rosebuds (.285/.379/.343 in 53 G).

Overall, McCord hit .306 with 1,435 hits, 279 doubles, 64 triples and 89 home runs in 1,312 minor league games.

After his playing career ended, McCord worked at the YMCA and then spent 24 years in the postal service. He also did a lot of work with the Nashville R.B.I. (Rebuilding Baseball in the Inner Cities) program.


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