"In knowing what kind of ball a batter could not hit and in his ability to serve up just that kind of ball, I don't think I have ever seen the equal of (John) Clarkson." - Cap Anson
John Gibson Clarkson was born on Monday, July 1st, 1861 in Cambridge, MA. He begain his baseball career as a starting pitcher with the Worcester Ruby Legs of the National League in 1882. He subsequently played for the Chicago White Stockings (Who eventually became the Cubs), the Boston Beaneaters (the original name of the Boston Braves), and finished up his career in 1894 with the Cleveland Spiders. While with the White Stockings, he pitched a no-hitter (4-0 in 1885 against the Providence Grays) and reached the postseason twice (tying the first time in 1885, and losing the second time in 1886... both times to the St. Louis Browns.) He won more than thirty games in six of his seasons... a record second only to that of Kid Nichols. His career record was 327-177.
When Clarkson and King Kelley were sold to Boston from Chicago in 1888 for $10,000, the outcry ended up starting the Player's League Revolt, which ended with the collapse of the American Association, the biggest rival to the National League. This was the first major player's revolt in any professional sports league.
In the 1886 Series, Clarkson lost Game Six in extra innings on a wild pitch that gave St. Louis the title as Curt Davis slid in with the run.
Clarkson was an outstanding pitcher, known most for his intelligence when it came to the game. At the time of his retirement, he had more wins than any pitcher in National League history. His weapons of choice were a serious of vicious curve balls and an uncanny ability to pitch to the batter's weakness... although other players complained of another weapon he used- an unusually shiny belt buckle that he wore to reflect light into the eyes of the batters. He also wasn't above using unique ways of proving a point- it was said that in one game, he threw a lemon rather than the ball to the umpire to prove that it was too dark to continue play.
Before playing professional baseball, Clarkson was a business student, and upon his retirement ran a successful cigar store in Cambridge, MA. His brothers, Dad and Walter, also played the game, although weren't as successful as John.
His sharp mind, however, turned out to be his undoing... in 1906, he suffered a nervous breakdown and spent the last four years of his life in and out of various mental institutions, dying in 1909 of pneumonia.
For his achievements, Clarkson was elected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame by the Veteran's Committee in 1963- 101 years after his birth.
This information was gleaned from Clarkson's page on the Baseball Hall Of Fame website, Baseball-Reference.com, Baseballlibrary.com Hickoksports.com, and Thebaseballpage.com.