Everyone remembers Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, and Carlos Zambrano, but the most underrated pitcher during the Chicago Cubs’ 2003 season was Matt Clement and his goatee.
Who was Matt Clement? Matt Clement was a third-round pick by the San Diego Padres in the 1990 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Butler High School in Butler Pennsylvania.
After having a “Cup of Coffee” with Padres in 1998 Clement’s first full big league season was 1999. He compiled at 10-12 record, a 4.48 ERA in 31 starts, and 180.2 innings.
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In three seasons with the Fryers, Clement went 25-29 with a 4.82 ERA.
Before the 2001 season, Clement was traded to the Florida Marlins. In one season with the fish, he went 9-10, an ERA of 5.14, in 181 1/3 innings.
The Cubbie Years
Right before the start of the 2001 season, Clement was traded to the Cubs, and Chicago love affair with Matt and his goatee began.
In three seasons with the Cubs, he compiled a 35-36 record with a 3.80 ERA in 68 appearances (66 starts).
His best season was the Cubs’ magical 2003 season. He went 14-12 with a 4.11 ERA 201.3 innings. The most significant start for Clement that season came on September 27th against the Pirates. He went 7 2/3 innings, striking out six, and giving up just two runs. He earned the win and clinched the 2003 NL Central title.
Matt Clement’s career as a whole
In nine big league seasons, Matt Clement tallied 87 wins, a 4.47 ERA in 238 starts.
Clement was never posied to be an ace or even a two or three starter, but he was arguably one of the best four or five starters during his time in the big leagues. He did just what a fourth or fifth starter is supposed to do; he kept his team in the game giving them a chance to win every time out.
A lot of baseball fans don’t remember the name Matt Clement, but almost every fan I’ve met remembers him for having one of the best goatees in sports history.