Jesse “Clyde” Milan
Born: March 25, 1887 - Linden, TN
Died: March 3, 1953 - Orlando, FL
Career BA: .285
Managerial Record: 69–85
Washington Senators AL (1907–1921; player-manager: 1922)
Some referred to him as “Deerfoot,” while others called him “Milan the Marvel.” Call him what you want, Clyde Milan was a darn good baseball player. Over his 16 years with the Senators, Milan batted a tidy .285 with 2,100 hits, and perfected the fine art of base stealing. When you talk about the best robbers during that era, Milan was right up there with Ty Cobb and Eddie Collins. In 1912 he set a Major League record with 88 steals, which stood until Cobb broke it three years later.
Milan got his start beating the bushes in 1905 and 1906 with stops in Clarksville, Texas, and Shawnee, Oklahoma, before making it to Wichita, Kansas, in the Western Association. When the Senators called him up to the big leagues, Milan played sparingly for a few seasons. It all finally clicked in 1910 when he batted .279 followed by a 1911 season in which he batted a robust .315. From that point on, Clyde Milan established himself as a solid player who could hit, field and run. Perfecting the hook slide, “Deerfoot” went on to steal 495 bases over his career. That is not anywhere near Cobb’s record, but very is good nonetheless.
Milan had some very good seasons over his long career. He averaged 30 stolen bases per year and was always productive offensively. In 1920, he batted .322 with 163 hits. Like many others at the time, Milan returned to the minors for several years before hanging them up. He went on to manage in the minors through 1937. Milan returned to the Senators to scout in 1937 and coached for them from 1938 until his death. One scorching day in 1953, Clyde Milan suffered a heart attack after hitting fungoes to his infielders. He passed away three weeks later. “Milan the Marvel” was robbed of life as quickly as he robbed those bases.
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html