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Jack Clark (baseball player)

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Jack Clark (baseball player)

Jack Clark
200px
Right fielder / First baseman / Designated hitter
Born: (1955-11-10) November 10, 1955 (age 58)
New Brighton, Pennsylvania
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 12, 1975 for the San Francisco Giants
Last MLB appearance
August 28, 1992 for the Boston Red Sox
Career statistics
Batting average .267
Home runs 340
Runs batted in 1,180
Teams

Career highlights and awards

Jack Anthony Clark (born November 10, 1955), also known as "Jack the Ripper," is a former Major League Baseball player. From 1975 through 1992, Clark played for the San Francisco Giants (1975–84), St. Louis Cardinals (1985–87), New York Yankees (1988), San Diego Padres (1989–90) and Boston Red Sox (1991–92). He batted and threw right-handed.

Career

Clark started his major league career with the San Francisco Giants in 1975 as a right fielder and the youngest player in 1975 (19). He won the first Willie Mac Award in 1980 for his spirit and leadership. Clark frequently complained about the cold and windy condition at Candlestick Park, the Giants' home park.[1] He had a rift with manager Frank Robinson, and some members of the Giants front office thought Clark took too long to recover from injuries.[1]

On February 1, 1985, Clark was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for shortstop José Uribe, pitcher Dave LaPoint, and first basemen-outfielders David Green and Gary Rajsich. He switched to first base to reduce risk of injury. His three- run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game 6 of the 1985 NLCS was the pennant-clinching hit for the Cardinals. Clark's fielding, never his specialty, played a pivotal role in the 1985 World Series. Umpire Don Denkinger's notorious controversial call in Game 6 came from Clark's throw to Todd Worrell at first. Clark would later misplay a foul popup that, while not ruled an error, should have been caught. Darrell Porter later admitted that he called off Clark but hesitated at the last minute when he thought Clark had called for the catch, which Clark had not. This opened the door for the Kansas City Royals to score two runs in the bottom of the 9th to win Game 6, and go on to capture the World Series in Game 7 the following night.

In 1987, despite a rift with St. Louis All-Star shortstop Ozzie Smith, Clark had his best season.[1] He hit .286 with 35 home runs, 106 RBI, and led the league in on-base percentage (.459) and slugging percentage (.597). He accomplished all this despite missing 31 games due to nagging injuries and finished 3rd in the MVP vote. Clark again led the Cardinals to the World Series that year, although an ankle injury limited him to one at-bat in the postseason.

Clark signed a two-year contract with the New York Yankees prior to the 1988 season. He was primarily a designated hitter (DH), because of the presence of Don Mattingly at first base. Clark enjoyed playing for manager Billy Martin, but he didn't get along with Martin's successor, Lou Piniella.[1] At the end of the season, he requested a trade.[2][3]

Clark was traded to the San Diego Padres with Pat Clements for Lance McCullers, Jimmy Jones, and Stan Jefferson.[4] Regarding his time in the American League, he said, "I hate that damn league. Every game lasts 3 1/2 to 4 hours. No wonder the fans are bored over there."[1] He played for the Padres for two seasons. In 1990, he feuded with All-Star teammate Tony Gwynn, who was widely respected by his peers and known as one the most dedicated players in baseball.[5][6][7] Clark called him selfish and stated that Gwynn should be swinging with runners in scoring position instead of bunting and protecting his batting average. "No one bothers Tony Gwynn because he wins batting titles, but the Padres finish fourth or fifth every year," he said.[6][8] Joe Carter, who played for the Padres in 1990, said, "It just involved one great guy, and that's Tony Gwynn, and anything they want to say about Tony Gwynn is going to be news. It got all blown out of proportion."[9] Gwynn countered, "I've been doing the same things my whole career, playing the same way. Now, why is it an issue? Because Jack Clark says it is."[10]

Clark returned to the American League in 1991, signing with the Boston Red Sox for three years over the Padres offer of only one.[6] He called Padres manager Greg Riddoch "a bad, bad man, and he's sneaky. He's a snake. Well, not just a snake, but a s-s-s-n-n-n-a-ke."[11] Clark said of the San Diego fans: "Everything that they should cheer for they'd boo for, and everything they should boo for they'd cheer for ... Tony, he's perfect for them. He just plays the whole thing up, and the town is so stupid that they can't see."[1] Gwynn responded with his own criticism of Clark: "Let's talk about him walking 104 times, being a No. 4 hitter. Let's talk about his not flying on team flights. Let's talk about him getting booted out of games on a called strike three."[12][13] Clark served primarily as Boston's DH. He was waived by Boston in February 1993 and was signed by the Montreal Expos during 1993 spring training. He was released later that year and never made an official at bat with the Expos. He retired shortly after. A four-time All-Star, Clark also won the Silver Slugger Award in 1985 and 1987.

In an 18-season career, Clark was a .267 hitter with 340 home runs and 1180 RBI in 1994 games. He also collected 1118 runs, 332 doubles, 77 stolen bases, and 1826 hits in 6847 at-bats.

The Frontier League introduced a new independent minor league team in the St. Louis, MO area in 1999. Jack Clark was named as the manager for the River City Rascals in their inaugural season. In October 2008, Clark was named manager of the Springfield Sliders (Springfield Illinois) of the Central Illinois Collegiate League (renamed Prospect League in 2009).[14]

Clark is second all-time with 18 extra-inning home runs.

Controversy

Bankruptcy

Clark was driven into bankruptcy in 1992 by his appetite for luxury cars. According to his bankruptcy filing, he owned 18 luxury automobiles, including a $700,000 Ferrari and a Rolls Royce. Clark was trying to pay 17 car notes simultaneously, and whenever he got bored with a car he would get rid of it and just buy another one. He ended up losing his 2.4 million-dollar home and his drag-racing business because of his extravagant spending habits. Despite one of the most publicized bankruptcies in baseball, Clark reportedly got back on his feet in the late 1990s.[15]

Talk radio firing

Clark was hired as a sports talk host on St. Louis radio station WGNU in August 2013, co-hosting a show with longtime St. Louis radio personality Kevin Slaten. At least twice during the show's first week, Clark accused Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols of using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) while Pujols was with the Cardinals. Clark had said that he talked to Pujols' former personal trainer and said that "I know for a fact he was" using PEDs.[16] Pujols responded by threatening Clark and WGNU with a defamation lawsuit, and vehemently denied that he had ever used PEDs. The trainer added that he hadn't even talked to Clark in over ten years. InsideSTL Enterprises, the company that owns WGNU's weekday airtime through a time brokerage agreement,[17] cut ties with Clark and Slaten after only seven shows.[16][18][19] On October 4, 2013, Pujols filed a lawsuit against Clark.[20] In response on October 14, Clark challenged Pujols to both take polygraph tests to resolve who is telling the truth.[21]

See also

Biography portal
Baseball portal

References

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference (Minors)
  • Baseball Evolution Hall of Fame - Player Profile
  • http://stl.sabr.org/fungoes/?p=723
  • NY Times article "Jack Clark Files for Bankruptcy"
Preceded by
Rick Monday
National League Player of the Month
May, 1978
Succeeded by
Dave Winfield
Preceded by
Rick Down
Los Angeles Dodgers Hitting Coach
2001-2003
Succeeded by
George Hendrick
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