Q&A with Tyler Clippard

Tyler Clippard was taken in 9th round in the 2003 draft by the New York Yankees out of J.W. Mitchell High School, located in New Port Richey, Florida. Tyler stands 6'4 and weighs 170 lbs. He was gracious to sit with PinstripesPlus.com before a late season Battle Creek Yankee home game.

PinstripesPlus.com: 2004 was your first full-season in pro ball. How did it go?

Tyler Clippard: Physically, over the six months, I was fine. Mentally, it was a strain. At times I found it hard to focus. It made each start different because sometimes the FB was't as fast as I would want it to be. I've learned a lot.

PinstripesPlus.com: Were you named after anyone?

Clippard: I got my middle name, Leo, from my grandfather on my father's side. As for the first name, it was just a name my parents liked.

PinstripesPlus.com: Were you born in New Port Richey, FL?

Clippard: No. I was born in Lexington, Kentucky. I was there for five years and then stayed briefly in Dover, DE before moving to Palm Harbor, FL. Its about 30 miles north of Tampa. We stayed there 7 years through my first year of high school at Palm Harbor High School. But I wasn't getting any playing time even on the JV squad. It was strange because my older brother, now 22, played the outfield for them and was pretty good but his coach left so when I joined the team, the new coach knew nothing about me. To give me a better opportunity we relocated to nearby New Port Richey, FL.

PinstripesPlus.com: Did you brother go on in baseball?

Clippard: In his junior year of college he decided to give it up to concentrate on golf.

PinstripesPlus.com: How come you family made so many big moves?

Clippard: Because of my father's job. He was a retail manager for a big chain Value City and the chain relocated him to Dover. When they hit hard times he got a similar position with Office Depot but it was in Florida. He has since left the retail business to set up his own financial planning company. He's been doing that for the last two years.

PinstripesPlus.com: Were you always a pitcher?

Clippard: Ever since we were allowed to throw off the mound in Little League I was a pitcher. In between I would play short or some outfield. In high school, once I transferred to J.W. Mitchell, I pitched. I was the #1 starter and for half a season I played short. My junior season, when I wasn't pitching, I was at third base, and as a senior I was at first base.

PinstripesPlus.com: Did you play any other sports in high school?

Clippard: Just golf.

PinstripesPlus.com: How come no football?

Clippard: It cut into the golf season. Plus when I started high school I was only 5'7, 140 lbs, not exactly football material.

PinstripesPlus.com: What about basketball?

Clippard: I wasn't very good at it?

PinstripesPlus.com: If I could wave a magic wand and make you either a major league pitcher or a PGA golfer, which one would you choose?

Clippard: No doubt about it, baseball but the one pro I would like to meet is Tiger Woods.

PinstripesPlus.com: What is your favorite team?

Clippard: The Cubs. My Mom and most of her family are from Indiana near Chicago so they grew up being Cub fans so my Mom's love of the Cubs rubbed off on me. M y Mom is a real fanatic, she could burst out crying after a loss. My Dad is from West Virginia, a farm boy. He went to Ohio State.

PinstripesPlus.com: Where did you get your love of baseball from?

Clippard: My Dad loves the game, and so does my Mom. They are both sports nuts.

PinstripesPlus.com: Were many colleges interested in you?

Clippard: At the start, not many. The first big school that was interested in me was University of South Florida so signed a letter of intent with them as soon as I could, in November. Maybe I should have waited because I was going to a lot of showcases and a lot of other big schools started talking to me but I was already signed.

PinstripesPlus.com: What made you decide to forego the baseball scholarship?

Clippard: A lot had to do with what team drafted me. It had to be the Cubs or the Yankees.

PinstripesPlus.com: I could understand why you wanted to be drafted by the Cubs, but why the Yankees?

Clippard: The Yankees are based in Tampa, only a few miles from my home and I knew my first season I would be assigned to the GCL team which meant it would be like playing at home. If the Cubs or the Yankees didn't take me I would probably have signed anyway. I'm a pitcher, all I have is my arm, and the fear of injury in college weighed heavily on my decision. With the Yankees it didn't take long to sign. I could've held out for more but I wanted to get my career going so I got less than $200,000 total package.

PinstripesPlus.com: What do you do in the off-season? Work? Go to school?

Clippard: Neither. I concentrate on baseball. I work out at the Tampa complex and get ready for next season.

PinstripesPlus.com: After baseball, what do you do to kick back?

Clippard: Play X-Box - baseball, racing, football. I also like to play No Limit Texas Hold'em Poker.

PinstripesPlus.com: I've seen the World Series of Poker of TV. I can't get enough of it. Do you play for fun?

Clippard: I play for real money, either playing on-line or at the casino, but no big stakes, 25 cents, sometimes as high as a dollar.

PinstripesPlus.com would like to thank Tyler Clippard for taking the time to answer Andy's questions.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories