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and April 28, 1953

   He was the first catcher to wear glasses, had a ferocious, biting, competitive temper, looked like a fireplug, and much too often got into trouble. His name was CLINT COURTNEY and what kept him in the big leagues was his defensive abilities and certainly not his hitting.

   He first came up with the New York Yankees but quickly wore out his welcome. They found him to be a derisive detriment on the club.

He was dealt to the St Louis Browns and spent most of his career with them. Throughout his time in the Major Leagues there was no love lost between him and New York. Which brings us to APRIL 28, 1953.

   On this day he displayed his nickname, “SCRAPIRON” to the fullest.

   In the top of the tenth inning of a 6-6 tie between the YANKEES  and ST. LOUIS Gil McDougald broke the tie by crashing home safely into Courtney at home plate.

   “Scrapiron” was furious and took it out on Phil Rizzuto when he slid into second in the bottom of the tenth. Rizzuto’s leg was was cut badly by Courtney’s spikes and immediately Allie Reynolds, Gil McDougald, and Joe Collins jumped on Courtney and pummeled the hell out of him. The umpire John Stephens ended up with a separated shoulder in his attempt to break things up.

   Courtney crawled out from the pile, began to look for his glasses only to see Bob Cerv smash them with his foot. In interviewing Cerv a few years back for One More Inning he told me that he hated Courtney while they were both with New York and that in general he was a mean spirited, nasty person who alienated almost everyone he came in contact with. Breaking his glasses was a spur of the moment thing and later on he bought him a new pair. Eventually they became friends after their career’s were over.

   When all was said and done the fines handed out for that day ($800 in total) were the highest ever for a brawl. Courtney’s fine was $250:00. Billy Martin was fined $450:00 and he never threw a punch!

   The next day, Courtney saw Allie Reynolds in front of him and gave him a curious compliment, “Hey Allie, you really hit me pretty good yesterday….

nice going.” 


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