I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Bob Clear, the longtime Angels coach and uncle of the closer for the franchise’s first AL West title team in 1979, Mark Clear.
Bob Clear, claimed by heart problems at 82, was a jovial baseball throwback whom everyone affectionately called Bobaloo. Not sure where the nickname originated; perhaps it derived from the nightclub of a sitcom icon of Clear’s generation — Ricky Ricardo, of “I Love Lucy” fame, and Club Babalu.
At any rate, Clear enjoyed being the butt of a joke manager Gene Mauch would frequently pull on unsuspecting baseball writers who prided themselves on their knowledge of the game.
“Is that right?” Mauch would begin. “Well, then, can you name the four Alous who have appeared in the big leagues?”
The three Alou brothers who were contemporaries — and one time appeared together in the Giants’ outfield — were well-known: Felipe, Matty and Jesus.
But no one could name the fourth. After a suitably long pause, Mauch would point down the bench and say dryly:
“Bobaloo … “
Never failed to get a laugh, as corny as it now seems.
RIP, Bobaloo …