The California Angels celebrated one of the most successful months in franchise history this April. The club’s accomplishments were recognized with the naming of Clyde Wright as American League Pitcher of the Month, but the party was crashed by the defending division champion, Minnesota Twins, as Wright shares the spotlight with the Twins’ new found ace Jim Perry.
Clyde pitched for teammate Jim Fregosi’s Ponce team in the Puerto Rico winter league this off-season and added a screwball to his arsenal. He finished the winter with an 11-5 record and a restored confidence that has carried over to the regular season. Wright set a career best with 5 wins in only 5 April starts. He completed four games with one shutout in his opening start in Kansas City on April 10. Wright, the left-handed 29-year-old Tennessean, recorded a 1.42 ERA for the month. Both Wright and Perry share a common experience in addition to Pitcher of the Month honors. Both were promoted to the starting rotation after spending most of 1969 in a relief roles. New Angels manager, Lefty Phillips, made it clear this spring Wright would get his chance. “He just never got the chance last spring. I know that the man has a lot of talent more than just a one-game talent. Look what he did in Puerto Rico for Jim Fregosi. No, right now Wright is my man. He’ll have to show me he CAN’T do the job.” Wright has rewarded Lefty’s faith more than even Phillips could have imagined.
Ironically, Jim Perry received the same opportunity from Wright’s former manager, Bill Rigney, who took over for Billy Martin this off-season in Minnesota. Perry rewarded Rigney with a 5-0 April with a 1.47 ERA, completing 4 of his 5 starts with two shutouts. Perry last won the Pitcher of the Month award in September, 1966.