Jack Clark (baseball)

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Jack Clark
Jack Clark 2008.jpg
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[edit]

Clark began his minor league baseball career in 1973 with the Great Falls Giants where he played the outfield and third base and had a 0-2 record in 5 games as a pitcher. In 1974, he led the league with 117 RBIs with Fresno. The following year, he led the league with 23 home runs with Lafayette.[1] 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.[2] 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.[2]

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.[2] 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.[2] At the end of the season, he requested a trade.[3][4]

Clark was traded to the San Diego Padres with Pat Clements for Lance McCullers, Jimmy Jones, and Stan Jefferson.[5] 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."[2] 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.[6][7][8] 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.[7][9] 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."[10] 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."[11]

Clark returned to the American League in 1991, signing with the Boston Red Sox for three years over the Padres offer of only one.[7] 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."[12] 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."[2] 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."[13][14] 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).[15]

Controversy[edit]

Bankruptcy[edit]

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.[16]

Talk radio firing[edit]

Clark was hired as a sports talk host on St. Louis radio station WGNU in August 2013, co-hosting "The King and the Ripper" with longtime St. Louis radio personality Kevin "the King" 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.[17] 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,[18] cut ties with Clark and Slaten after only seven shows.[17][19][20] On October 4, 2013, Pujols filed a lawsuit against Clark.[21] In response on October 14, Clark challenged Pujols to both take polygraph tests to resolve who is telling the truth.[22] However, on February 10, 2014, Clark apologized and retracted his accusations against Pujols, saying he had "no knowledge whatsoever" that Pujols ever used PEDs. "During a heated discussion on air, I misspoke," Clark said. In return, Pujols dropped the suit.[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Norman MacLean, ed. (1988). 1988 Who's Who in Baseball. New York: Who's Who in Baseball Magazine Company, Inc. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Shaughnessy, Dan (April 14, 1991). "Wait till this year For Jack Clark, there are only a few baseball Octobers left. Is this the man who can take the Red Sox all the way?". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 6, 2012. (subscription required)
  3. ^ Martinez, Michael (September 5, 1988). "Miserable Week For the Yankees". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ Martinez, Michael (September 21, 1988). "Steinbrenner Is Willing to Trade Clark". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ Chass, Murray (October 25, 1988). "Yankees Trade Clark to the Padres". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Naiman, Joe; Porter, David (2003). The San Diego Padres Encyclopedia. Sports Publishing LLC. p. 126. ISBN 9781582610580. Retrieved June 4, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c Kurkjian, Tim (March 11, 1991). "Beginning Again". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on June 4, 2012. 
  8. ^ Fainaru, Steve (April 11, 1991). "Clark is ready to make a powerful statement". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 6, 2012. (subscription required)
  9. ^ Boswell, Thomas (June 30, 1991). "Season just perfect for true fans of baseball". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved June 6, 2012. (subscription required)
  10. ^ Cafardo, Nick; Fainaru, Steve (March 15, 1991). "Kiecker looks impressive again". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 6, 2012. (subscription required)
  11. ^ "Gwynn says he'll play with Padres, Clark". Chicago Sun-Times. October 11, 1990. Retrieved June 6, 2012. (subscription required)
  12. ^ Stone, Larry (September 19, 2010). "Cardinals bear the wrath of Jack the Ripper". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 7, 2012. (subscription required)
  13. ^ Nightengale, Bob (March 5, 1991). "Gwynn Rips Clark, Cites 'Jealousy'". Sun Sentinel. Archived from the original on June 7, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Mets get confirmation of bone spurs in Viola's elbow". Chicago Sun-Times. March 5, 1991. Retrieved June 6, 2012. (subscription required)
  15. ^ Madden, Bill (June 6, 2009). "Where are they now? It's been a rough road for ex-Yankee Jack Clark". Daily News. 
  16. ^ Former Big-League Star Clark Rebuilds After Bankruptcy
  17. ^ a b http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/blog/eye-on-baseball/23082071/former-mlber-jack-clark-accuses-albert-pujols-of-using-peds
  18. ^ Venta, Bruce (28 June 2013). "WGNU St. Louis To Flip To Sports". Radio Insight. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  19. ^ http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9553275/albert-pujols-says-sue-jack-clark-false-accusations
  20. ^ http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:9556488
  21. ^ "Albert Pujols sues Jack Clark". 
  22. ^ "Clark challenges Pujols to dueling polygraphs over steroids claims". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. October 14, 2013. 
  23. ^ Goold, Derrick (2014-02-11). "Jack Clark apologizes; Pujols will drop lawsuit". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 

External links[edit]

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