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Will Clark

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William Nuschler Clark Jr.
(the Thrill)

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[edit] Biographical History

"There's no doubt Will comes to play every day and he plays hard." - Tom Glavine

First baseman Will "The Thrill" Clark rose to stardom while playing college baseball at Mississippi State University. He was a member of the 1984 Olympic team and won the Golden Spikes Award as the nation's top amateur player in 1985. He was selected by the San Francisco Giants with the second overall pick in the 1985 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Ken Parker and made his pro debut that summer with the Fresno Giants. This was one of the most talented draft classes in history, featuring players such as Barry Bonds, Barry Larkin, Bobby Witt, B.J. Surhoff, Gregg Jefferies and Rafael Palmeiro. Clark hit a home run in his first at bat with Fresno on June 21st (on his first swing as well) and hit .309 with 10 homers and 48 RBIs in 65 games with the club.

Clark was ready for the majors in 1986, and he hit a home run in his first major league at bat off Nolan Ryan (once again on his first swing) on April 8th of that year. He remained the Giants' regular first baseman for eight seasons, with his best year coming in 1989, when he hit .333 with 23 homers and 111 RBIs and finished as runner-up to teammate Kevin Mitchell in the National League Most Valuable Player Award voting.

After the 1993 season, Clark became a free agent and signed with the Texas Rangers. Although his numbers were not quite as good as with the Giants, he did hit over .300 in four of his five years with the Rangers. He signed with the Baltimore Orioles after the 1998 season but struggled with injuries in 1999 and played in only 77 games (but still hit .303). He scored the winning run against Pedro Luis Lazo in game one of the 1999 Baltimore Orioles-Cuban National Team Exhibition Series. Midway through 2000, Clark was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Jose Leon. Even though he did extremely well with his new team - hitting .345 with a 166 OPS+ - he announced his retirement at the end of the year, finishing his career with a .303 batting average.

In the 2006 Hall of Fame voting, Clark received 4.4% of the vote in his first year on the ballot. He needed 26 votes to stay on the ballot, but got only 23. He finished ahead of Dwight Gooden, who got 3.3%.

He owns or has owned a restaurant with Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 6-time All-Star (1988-1992 and 1994)
  • 1989 NLCS MVP
  • NL Gold Glove Winner (1991)
  • 2-time NL Silver Slugger Award Winner (1989 & 1991)
  • NL Slugging Percentage Leader (1991)
  • NL Runs Scored Leader (1989)
  • NL Total Bases Leader (1991)
  • NL RBI Leader (1988)
  • NL Bases on Balls Leader (1988)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 6 (1987-1989, 1991, 1998 & 2000)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1987)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 4 (1988, 1989, 1991 & 1998)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (1988 & 1989)

[edit] Further reading

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