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Sunday, November 26, 2023

Clay Daniel worked to make bigs over six seasons; Later turned scout

Clay Daniel 1990 Miami Miracle card

In his sixth pro season, at age 27, Clay Daniel found himself still playing, but at high-A independent Miami.

To The South Florida Sun Sentinel, Daniel recounted how he continued looking for his chance at the majors.

"The game is played between the ears," Daniel told The Sun Sentinel. "How do you know if someone can play in the big leagues unless given a chance. They might say my fastball is a little bit short for the big leagues. But how do they know?"

For Daniel, he never got his shot at the majors. That season proved his last as a pro. But Daniel has gone on to his own career evaluating major league talent himself, as a scout.

Daniel's career began in 1984, taken by the Reds in the 20th round of the draft out of the University of Florida.

He started with the Reds at rookie Billings and at single-A Tampa. He went 7-0 at Billings, with a 2.56 ERA. Late that July, he threw a no-hitter, striking out 14, The Billings Gazette wrote.

"Once you start throwing your breaking pitches for strikes, they start looking for it," Daniel told The Gazette afterward. "Then you can sneak your fastball in on them. When you do that again, they don't know what to look for."

Daniel moved to single-A Cedar Rapids for much of 1985. He went 13-8, with a 2.58 ERA over 25 starts. He then made AA Vermont in 1986.

For 1987, he moved to the Pirates system and saw 15 outings at AA Harrisburg. He returned to Harrisburg for two outings in 1987, before he went back to finish his degree after being faced with a demotion.

He skipped 1989 and returned with the Rangers at AAA Oklahoma City to start 1990. He saw five relief outings there before getting released and continued with Miami for 15 final outings to end his career.

Daniel then soon became a scout, a job he enjoyed, he told The Orlando Sentinel in February 1995.

"I'd win the lottery and still be working," Daniel told The Sentinel. "I love it that much."

Daniel continued as a scout at least through 2010.

Clay Daniel 1990 Miami Miracle card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,265
Made the Majors:1,387-32.5%
Never Made Majors:2,878-67.5%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:563
10+ Seasons in the Minors:347

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