James "Cliff" McClanahan pitched for Oglethorpe College in Atlanta. In 1940 he pitched for the Saranac Lake Red Sox. He was subsequently on the U.S. National Team that went to Cuba for the World Tournament. Bill Hafer was the manager. Cliff was paid $130 per month and his way to Saranac Lake was paid for him.
His children remember him telling a story of watching a baseball game with Babe Ruth in 1939 or '40. While local newspaper archives didn't record any such event, the following story documents that Ruth was in the area at that time.
Lake Placid News, July 7, 1939
BABE RUTH PLAYS GOLF AT WHITEFACE INN
Babe Ruth, the king of swat, was a visitor in this resort Friday afternoon enroute to Malone where he appeared in exhibitions over the Fourth. Accompanied by Frank Reagan, New York Hotel manager, the two played golf with Henry Haynes, manager of the Whiteface Inn, on the hotel's golf course.
During their stay in town they visited local merchants and called on James Searles, pro at the Lake Placid club. Tentative arrangements were made to play on the club course Sunday afternoon but inclement weather and his engagement at Malone prevented the "Bambino" from making the trip here.
Tupper Lake Free Press And Herald, September 5, 1940
SARANAC WINS LEAGUE TITLE
RED SOX TROUNCE PLATTSBURGH, 3-0 AND 5-1 TO TAKE NORTHERN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
The Northern League closed Labor Day as the Saranac Lake Red Sox lambasted Plattsburgh's Majors for the second straight time, 6-1, after blanking the Majors 3-0 Sunday. Total attendance at the final game In Plattsburgh was 554, after 798 turned out for the finale in Saranac Lake Sunday. Jim Kirnan hurled one-hit ball to the Majors in the Sunday game while Cliff McClanahan tossed a four-hitter in the final game.
This was a sad ending for the Plattsburgh club, a team that dominated the loop throughout the first of the season. The Majors however, seemed unable to halt the Red Sox during the second half of the split season with McClanahan and Kirnan being particularly poisonous to the Barrettmen.
After the game in Plattsburgh Jim Honochick, leading batter in the league, and Al Pajonas reportedly left for Baltimore and a trial with the Orioles. Honochick compiled an average of .373 this summer and played a fine game in center field. Pajonas, a shortstop, rapped the horsehide at a .321 clip and did some fancy fielding.