Boileryard Clarke
Catcher/First baseman
Born: (1868-10-18)October 18, 1868
New York City, New York
Died: July 29, 1959(1959-07-29) (aged 90)
Princeton, New Jersey
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
May 1, 1893, for the Baltimore Orioles
Last MLB appearance
October 7, 1905, for the New York Giants
MLB statistics
Batting average.256
Runs batted in429
Career highlights and awards

William Jones "Boileryard" Clarke (October 18, 1868 – July 29, 1959), was an American Major League Baseball player from New York City who played catcher from 1893 to 1905. Clarke also served as the long-time head baseball coach for Princeton University, where Bill Clarke Field is named in his honor. Clarke played for the Baltimore Orioles (1893–1898), Boston Beaneaters (1899–1900), Washington Senators (1901–1904), and New York Giants (1905).[1]


Clarke was born on October 18, 1868, in New York City. He moved to the then New Mexico Territory in his early childhood, was raised in Indian territory, and studied civil engineering in Santa Fe at Brothers College.[2] He began his professional career with the Pueblo Ponies of the Colorado State League in 1889, and played for the Ottumwa Coal Palaces in the 1890 Illinois-Iowa League. After playing for the San Francisco Friscos and San Jose Dukes of the California League in 1891 and 1892, Clarke made his debut for the Baltimore Orioles of the National League on May 1, 1893. Clarke would play in 13 major league seasons.[2] He said that his nickname, "Boileryard", was given to him because of his voice, explaining, "I had a terrible voice which you could hear all over the diamond."[2][3]

During his major league career, he also assisted the Princeton University baseball team as a coach from 1897 to 1901.[2] He returned to Princeton in 1909, approximately four years after his retirement from baseball, and stayed until 1927. He came out of retirement again to be an assistant coach for Princeton in 1934, and in 1936 was named manager of the team, and stayed in the position until 1944, when retired again, this time at the age of 75. His managerial record at Princeton was 564–322–10 and his tenure in athletics there was longer than anybody else's. He also managed minor league teams in Allentown, Pennsylvania; Toledo, Ohio; and the Albany Senators in Albany, New York.[2] Bill Clarke Field, the home of Princeton baseball since 1961, is named in his honor.[4][5]

Clarke died in Princeton, New Jersey, at the age of 90, of complications suffered from a broken hip resulting from a fall.[1][2] He was survived by his wife of 64 years and a granddaughter.[2] He is interred at Druid Ridge Cemetery in Pikesville, Maryland, in the Evergreen Section.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Boileryard Clarke's career statistics". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Bill Clarke, 90, Baseball Player - Baltimore Orioles Catcher, 1893-98, Dead - Coached at Princeton 34 Years". The New York Times. July 30, 1959. p. 27. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  3. ^ "Boileryard Clarke Minor Leagues Statistics & History".
  4. ^ "Clarke Field". Princeton Tigers. Princeton Athletic Communications. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
  5. ^ (PDF). March 4, 2016 Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)