Jack Clark

From BR Bullpen

Jack Clark.jpg

Jack Anthony Clark
(Jack the Ripper)

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Jack Clark was one of the top sluggers of the 1980s, clubbing 340 home runs over eighteen seasons in the majors, and was a four-time All-Star.

Originally selected by the San Francisco Giants as a pitcher in the 13th round of the 1973 amateur draft, Clark was soon moved away from the mound. He primarily played the outfield for the Great Falls Giants in his first pro season of 1973, hitting .321 with 9 home runs in 65 games. The next two summers, he played mostly third base, but he made 109 errors over that span. Despite his troubles on defense, he continued to hit well, hitting .315 with 19 homers for the Fresno Giants in 1974 and batting .303 with 23 home runs for the Lafayette Drillers in 1975. In the latter year, he earned a September call-up to the majors, and he went 4-for-17 in 8 games. Moved back to the outfield in 1976, Clark spent most of that summer with the Phoenix Giants, for whom he posted a .323 average and 17 homers. That September, he was back in San Francisco. He hit his first big league home run, a solo shot, off Jack Billingham of the Cincinnati Reds on September 11th, and he hit .225 in 26 games for the Giants that year.

Clark became the Giants' regular rightfielder in 1977 and hit .252 with 13 home runs in his first full major league campaign. The next summer, he came into his own, hitting .306 with 25 homers and 46 doubles, being selected to play in the All-Star Game, and finishing fifth in National League Most Valuable Player voting. He put together another fine season for San Francisco in 1982, hitting .274 with 27 home runs and 103 RBIs and finishing seventh in NL MVP voting.

Prior to the 1985 season, Clark was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for four players. The Cards moved him to first base, and he hit .281 with 22 home runs in his first season with the team. St. Louis won the NL East title, and Clark hit .381 in the NLCS, clubbing a Series-winning homer in Game 6. He had another great season in 1987, hitting .286 with a career-best 35 home runs, leading the NL with a .597 slugging percentage, and finishing third in NL MVP voting. However, due to an ankle injury, he did not play in that fall's World Series.

Clark moved to the New York Yankees as a free agent in 1988 and hit .242 with 27 home runs as the team's designated hitter. After one year in New York, he was dealt to the San Diego Padres. He hit 51 home runs in two seasons with the Padres and then signed with the Boston Red Sox as a free agent in 1991. Let go by Boston after hitting just .210 with 5 homers in 1992, he signed a minor league deal with the Montreal Expos but was released before ever playing a game in their organization.

Although Clark's career numbers are not of Hall of Fame quality, he has a lifetime OPS+ of 137, showing that he played at quite a high level. An OPS+ of 137 puts him in the top 100 of all time, tied with his contemporary Pedro Guerrero (who was called the best hitter of the 1980s by Bill James) and with Hall of Famer Chuck Klein. According to similarity scores, the most similar players to Clark are Boog Powell, Gil Hodges, and Roy Sievers.

Clark managed the River City Rascals of the Frontier League in 1999 and was a Los Angeles Dodgers coach from 2001 to 2003. He was hosting a radio show on a St. Louis station in 2013 when he got himself in trouble by making unsubstantiated accusations that former Cardinals star Albert Pujols and Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander had used steroids. He had had the gig for barely a week when he made his claims on August 9th, and was fired a day later, along with the show's co-host. Worse, Pujols indicated he would take legal action over what he called "irresponsible and reckless" false accusations.

Clark was once on his way to the ballpark when he passed a car lot and liked the look of some fancy sports cars. He dropped in and quickly bought two for $90,000 each before continuing on to the game.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 4-time NL All-Star (1978, 1979, 1985 & 1987)
  • 2-time NL Silver Slugger Award Winner (1985/1B & 1987/1B)
  • NL On-Base Percentage Leader (1987)
  • NL Slugging Percentage Leader (1987)
  • NL OPS Leader (1987)
  • 3-time NL Bases on Balls Leader (1987, 1989 & 1990)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 11 (1978-1980, 1982, 1983, 1985 & 1987-1991)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1987)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1982 & 1987)

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Playoffs Notes
2004 Mid-Missouri Mavericks Frontier League 4-26 -- replaced by Jim Gentile (24-40)

Related Sites[edit]