Remembering the Legend: Clarence “Clown” Lewis

Published 4:15 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2023

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By C.Y. Peters
 He was known as the Clown, Clarence “Clown” Lewis made his mark in area baseball.  Lewis helped E.L. Bowers start baseball at Unaka High school, organizing the team.  He was a fire-baller left-handed pitcher who also played some first base when he was not pitching.
    Lewis was a great hitter firing line drives, leading to many doubles and triples.  While playing first base, he would “clown around” with the catchers; that’s how he got his nickname “Clown.”
    After high school, Clarence played semi-pro ball and credited John and Clint Ritchie for instructions.  In his first season, he hit over 400 and belted 19 triples.  One of his best memories was hitting a home run over the river in Butler.  It was well over 400 feet and broke up a no-hitter for Hobe Fair.
    Clarence also played basketball and was usually the center.  He enjoyed watching baseball and football on TV in his latter years.  Clarence was married to Ola Nidiffer and they had two sons, John and Richard, who were school teachers.  Clarence attended Carter and Winner Schools, Unaka and Elizabethton High, around the late 1920s and retired from North American Rayon.  He served on the school board for two terms and attended Unaka Baptist Church.  Clarence passed away in 1990.

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