April 3, 2006

Nath McClinic Obituary

Officer, baseball legend dies, 79  (April 3, 2006)

Nathaniel “Nath” McClinic Sr. is remembered by the community.
By Lauren Gregory, Rome News-Tribune Staff Writer

Floyd County lost a seasoned athlete, an experienced law enforcement officer and a beloved friend and role model this weekend with the passing of Nathaniel “Nath” McClinic Sr.

McClinic, 79, succumbed to a short illness at a Rome hospital Saturday.

Some knew him as one of the “Legends of the Negro League” honored at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Others knew him as a fearless, dedicated officer with the Floyd County Police Department.

After retiring from a professional baseball career, McClinic made his mark in 1965 as Floyd County’s first black officer. He worked his way up to investigator, the position from which he retired in 1985.

Former county police chief Jim Free remembered McClinic fondly. “We always had a lot of fun together,” he said.

Free, who was partners with McClinic for several years, called him “a good asset to the department. He was a good man and a good partner. I’m really going to miss him.”

Former County Commissioner Sam Burrell knew McClinic through the years and said he always admired him as a prominent member of the community. “He organized one of the best semi-professional baseball teams I’ve seen in this area,” Burrell recalled. “He was an athlete for a number of years.”

Playing baseball even while he was serving in the Army at Iwo Jima during World War II, he continued to pursue his lifetime goal to become an athlete.

After playing for the Chattanooga Choo-Choos from the end of 1946 to 1947, McClinic joined the Cleveland Buckeyes. He played for the 12-team Negro American League with the likes of Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Satchel Paige.

McClinic continued playing for the Lindale Dragons in the all-black Josh Gibson League after his retirement and later worked as a trainer for Pepperell High School’s football team until he joined the police department.

Funeral arrangements for McClinic, which were incomplete Saturday, are being handled by Wright Memorial Mortuary Inc.