Aug 13, 2015

Former New York Giants Backup Catcher: Ebba St. Claire (1954)

Edward Joseph St. Claire was born on August 5th, 1921 in Whitehall, New YorK. Whitehall is located in upstate New York on the Vermont border between Lake George & Lake Champlain.

The six foot one switch hitting catcher was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1942. After attending Colgate University in 1942 he served two years in World War II then played in the minor leagues through the 1958 season. St. Claire spent 11 years in the minors batting .273 with 146 hits 66 HRs 146 doubles & 114 RBIs. Behind the plate he threw out 40% of would be base stealers posting a .977 fielding %.

He made his MLB debut in 1951 with the Boston Braves playing there as a back up to veteran Walker Cooper. That year he played in a career high 72 games batting .282 with one HR 25 RBIs. In 1953 he moved with the Braves to Milwaukee & became a third string catcher behind Del Crandall & Walker Cooper. In 33 games he batted just .200 with 2 HRs & 5 RBIs. In just 17 games behind the plate he only threw out one of eleven base runners trying to steal (8%).

In his time in Milwaukee he ran Ebba's Home Plate Restaurant in a nearby suburb. In the winter of 1954 he was sent to the New York Giants in the mega deal that sent Johnny Antonelli, Don Liddle & Billy Klaus to New York for Bobby Thompson & Sam Calderone. St. Claire began the year with the Giants as their third string catcher behind Wes Westrum & Ray Katt. In the second game of the season he hit a two run HR against the Brooklyn Dodgers at the Polo Grounds, although the Giants still lost -4.

On May 13th he hit another two run HR leading New York to a 603 win over the Chicago Cubs. He drove in another run the next day to extend is streak to three straight games with an RBI. He played in just 20 games before being sent down to AAA Minneapolis in late May. In 51 games at there he hit just .186 with 6 HRs & 18 RBIs. He was not around for the Giants World Series Championship that same 1954 season.

In his four year career he batted .249 with 112 hits 7 HRs 23 doubles a .306 on base & & 40 RBIs. In 139 games behind the plate he threw out 33% of would be base stealers & posted a .978 fielding %. Ebba passed away at age 61 in Whitehall New York.

Family: St. Claire is the father of Randy St. Claire who pitched nine years in the major leagues with the Montreal Expos (1984-1988) Cincinnati Reds (1988) Minnesota Twins (1989) ATlanta Braves (1991-1992) & Toronto Blue Jays (1994). In 162 appearances he was 12-6 with nine saves & a 4.14 ERA.

After his playing days Randy became a pitching coach for the Montreal Expos in 2003 moving with the club to Washington D.C. There he coached until 2009 & then was appointed pitching coach of the Florida Marlins in 2010.

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