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Jack Clark

Right fielder / First baseman / Designated hitter
Born: November 10, 1955 (1955-11-10) (age 54)
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     1180
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Jack Anthony Clark (born November 10, 1955 in New Brighton, Pennsylvania), 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). But Clark hated the Giants' Candlestick Park, a notoriously bad park for power hitters because of the wind coming off of the San Francisco Bay. He won the first Willie Mac Award in 1980 for his spirit and leadership.

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. He became the hero of the 1985 National League Championship Series with a dramatic Game Six ninth-inning three-run home run off Dodgers pitcher Tom Niedenfuer. (He would later join the Dodgers as their hitting coach in 2003.) 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, Clark had probably his best season. He hit .286 with 35 home runs, 106 RBI, and led the league in on-base percentage and slugging percentage with a .459 OBP and a .597 SLG. 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 injuries limited his contributions in the post-season.

In 1988, Clark played with the New York Yankees as a designated hitter, because of the presence of Don Mattingly at first base. Clark also played for the San Diego Padres in two seasons, returning to the American League as a DH with the Boston Red Sox. 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.

In October 2008, Clark was named manager of the Springfield Sliders (Springfield Illinois) of the Central Illinois Collegiate League (renamed Prospect League in 2009).

Clark is known for his outspoken ways. In 1991 he accused future Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn of being "selfish", later hanging a small effigy of Gwynn in the visitor's dugout at Shea Stadium. More recently,Clark vilified Mark McGwire in the wake of his steroids admission:

• "If his hand-eye coordination was so good, why did he feel the need to apologize to the Maris family?"

• "It's a shame that he thinks we're all stupid, that he only did [steroids] because of injuries. That's such a cop-out, such a lie. These guys did [steroids] to take the money to pump up their egos and then take their consequences down the road."

• Steroid abusers and suspected users "are all lucky they didn't end up in jail. It's all comical to a certain point. It's a three-ring circus. It really is. From [commissioner] Bud Selig to Tony [La Russa] to A-Rod to Manny Ramirez to Palmeiro ... What a joke."

• "[McGwire's] own manager never knew that [Jose] Canseco and McGwire and anybody else ever had taken steroids? Trust me, from [a former player], I have a lot of insight into who did what and when but I'm not even going to talk about it. It really doesn't matter."

• "This thing stretches a long way back and it's really ugly and just really shocking."

• "These guys are playing the game for their own benefits and it's really disgusting. ... They go up there and shed a tear and they think all is forgotten. Well, it's not forgotten and it never will be."

• "[McGwire is] a sad excuse for a player in the industry of baseball. Just seeing him in uniform makes me throw up."

• "He should not be in baseball. He should be banned from baseball more than ever."

Bankruptcy:

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 million-dollar homes and his drag-racing business because of his extravagant spending habits, but despite one of the most publicized bankruptcies in baseball, Clark reportedly got back on his feet in the late ’90s.

See also

External links

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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