The year 1959 always will stand out in Roger Clapp’s mind. He led professional baseball that year 1n victories with 25, two coming in the Northwest League playoffs to move him beyond former Red Sox hurler Don Schwall’s 23 wins.
A member of the Milwaukee Braves’ minor league system for nine years, Clapp was 21-6 1n 34 games for the Yakima, Wash., Braves during the 1959 regular season. He won two earlier games for the Boise, Idaho, team that same season. At Yakima, his regular-season Statistics were 226 innings, 195 hits, 82 runs (a 2.5] earned run average) and 166 strike outs —an astonishing feat.
The quiet youngster from Milo owned a “big-league curve’ according to former Pacific Coast pitcher and major leaguer Elmer Singleton. ‘I liked the way Clapp got his curve ball over when he had to, ’’ Singleton said. Nonetheless, Clapp never made it to the majors, which was a surprise because he had a world of talent.
The righthander, who attended Bowdoin College after a stint in the Army, now umpires baseball games, including important UMO contests. Presently employed by Skowhegan’s Maine Gas and Appliance, Clapp, who fired two no-hitters tor Milo High, is regarded as one of the state’s more knowledgeable umpires.
Clapp was also a basketball star at Milo High. In fact, he established many scoring records there and regularly was one of the state’s top) foul shooters. He was Eastern Maine's top foul shooter two consecutive years, making 47 of 50th the state foul shooting contest.
When he played for the Denver Bears 1n 1963, his last season in professional ball, baseball comedian Bob Uecker was his catcher.
However, 1 was never a joke when Clapp was on the mound.
Unfortunately, Miller Lite wasn’t on the market in those days, so Uecker couldn't toast Clapp’s stellar pitching performances to the beer that made the amusing catcher famous.