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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Will Clark Saved The Giants, And I Missed It

Kirby Puckett is on the fringes of the statistical argument, but he got first-ballot love because he meant something more to 82.14 percent of the voters. Puckett got in under the “It’s the Hall of Fame” argument. And I’m cool with that.

Clark didn’t make the Hall because that argument didn’t affect enough of the voters in his case. Which, again, I’m cool with. It’s a subjective thing. That’s the point. But to Giants fans, Clark was baseball. He was the end of the 1970s and early-‘80s doldrums. He was the first division title in 15 years. He was the first pennant in 27 years. He was a home run in his first at-bat—the instant fulfillment of promise. He was 103 wins in the season after the team was supposed to move to Florida.

I’m the same age as the author, and Will Clark was the first athlete I remember idolizing.  It was an interesting time in Bay Area baseball, the Giants were the scrappy underdog and the A’s were the powerhouse.  In 1989 all the kids in my town suddenly realized that they couldn’t be both A’s and Giants fans.

Howling John Shade Posted: July 28, 2012 at 06:51 PM | 85 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants, hall of fame

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   1. Howling John Shade Posted: July 28, 2012 at 07:48 PM (#4194769)
Edit: and now the quote is fixed. Thanks.
   2. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: July 28, 2012 at 07:49 PM (#4194770)
Great article. RTFA. Makes me want to check out the book.
   3. shoewizard Posted: July 28, 2012 at 10:12 PM (#4194885)
Why did Clark lose his HR power after 1991 ?

87-91 hit a homer every 21 AB, 92 thru rest of career Homer every 28 AB.

Did he have a back injury or something ? I know he made up for a big chunk of that with more walks from 92 on....but just curious if an injury triggered the change in approach.
   4. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: July 28, 2012 at 10:23 PM (#4194897)
Why did Clark lose his HR power after 1991 ?


Because he was my first ever fantasy pick in 1992.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: July 28, 2012 at 10:30 PM (#4194900)
In the comparison to Puckett -- Clark was pretty famous in his own right. _Everybody_ raved about his swing (understandably). 5 straight AS games (4 starts), 2nd in MVP in 1988. He never had Puckett's crowning moment of course and that is part of the difference but I don't think there's a single HoFer (by BBWAA vote) with a resume like Clark's to begin with. Of course I'm not sure anybody matches Puckett either.

I'd swear he had the nickname "the Natural" but b-r says no. In fact it says nobody ever has.
   6. shoewizard Posted: July 28, 2012 at 10:38 PM (#4194905)
Also, is there any way to use play index to look up

Final Season
Qualified for batting title
Ranked by OPS.

I can't imagine there are that many players who finished with higher than a 145 OPS+ in their final year and qualified for the batting title at the same time.

Bonds didn't qualify in his final season. Neither did Ted Williams.
   7. asinwreck Posted: July 28, 2012 at 10:53 PM (#4194913)
The author could sum up the pre-Clarkian Giants in two words: Johnnie LeMaster. The shortstop inspired a sense of pessimism among the faithful braving the frigid June nights in Candlestick Park. The team was inept and -- with Jack Clark as its biggest star -- plain unlikeable.

Will Clark not only hit as a rookie, he had charisma, confidence, and seemed to be having a great deal of fun. Quite a contrast from the Jim Davenport-led Giants the year before.
   8. McCoy Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:13 PM (#4194924)
Will Clark killed the Cubs, and I didn't miss it.
   9. bjhanke Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:15 PM (#4194925)
My personal opinion, based on nothing but my own observations, is that Clark's lack of fame stems from his unfortunate speaking voice. I heard him talk on camera only twice, but that was enough. I knew then that "sportscaster" was not in his future, nor were "lots of interviews." It's not fair, of course. Your speaking voice, about which you can do approximately nothing, shouldn't interfere with your fame as a baseball player. But in Clarks' case, he just drew the wrong genetic straw. - Brock Hanke
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:16 PM (#4194926)

Why did Clark lose his HR power after 1991 ?

87-91 hit a homer every 21 AB, 92 thru rest of career Homer every 28 AB.

Did he have a back injury or something ? I know he made up for a big chunk of that with more walks from 92 on....but just curious if an injury triggered the change in approach.


I believe it was a back injury. Or Rafael Palmeiro took an illegal elixir that made him switch careers with Will from that point on.

Also, is there any way to use play index to look up

Final Season
Qualified for batting title
Ranked by OPS.


1. Shoeless Joe Jackson 1920 - 172
2. Will Clark 2000 -145
3. Mickey Mantle 1968 - 143
4. Happy Felsch 1920 - 143
5. Buzz Arlett 1931 - 138
6. Steve Evans 1915 - 138
7. Frank Huelsman 1905 - 135
8. Frank Schulte 1918 - 134
9. Bill Keister 1903 - 133
10.Hank Greenburg 1947 - 131

Kirby Puckett is #11
   11. shoewizard Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:20 PM (#4194927)
Clark's lack of fame stems from his unfortunate speaking voice. I heard him talk on camera only twice, but that was enough.


Can you describe his voice ? I don't recall what it sounds like.

The Giants developed outfielders—Bobby Bonds, George Foster, Garry Maddox, Gary Matthews—and then sprinkled them around the rest of the league like Johnny Outfielderseed, giving them away as if there were a concerted effort to keep the Giants awful.


I got a chuckle out of that.
   12. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:22 PM (#4194928)
I remember Bill James (I think) somewhere describing the Giants of the 1970s as coming up with an amazing number of good outfielders--and getting rid of them all, because the Giants were in the bad habit of comparing them all to Willie Mays, and they weren't Willie Mays.

Will Clark would not do injustice to the Hall of Fame were he in it.
   13. AndrewJ Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:23 PM (#4194929)
1. Shoeless Joe Jackson 1920 - 172
2. Will Clark 2000 -145
3. Mickey Mantle 1968 - 143
4. Happy Felsch 1920 - 143
5. Buzz Arlett 1931 - 138


Jackson and Felsch's leaving had zero to do with injury and Arlett's final season was also his only season. So Will Clark's last year really was historically rare.
   14. shoewizard Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:28 PM (#4194934)
Thanks for the list AF#1F

Interesting list, and really says a lot about Clarks decision to "go out on top" so to speak.

Mantle and Greenberg had walks and homers to make up their value, but with such low batting averages Clark was arguably the much better hitter than either at that point in their careers. Greenberg and Mantle were both 36 in their final seasons as well. But there was probably much more of a feeling of "this is about it" for both of them than there was for Clark following his final season.

I confess to knowing little about the guys number 4 thru 9 on the list...and of course Jackson doesn't need explanation. The "modern" examples of Greenberg and Mantle are the most relevant I guess....but in any case, what Clark did was pretty rare. Not so rare for a 36 yr. old. He ranks 20th in OPS+ for a 36 yr old. But that it was his last season is really odd.

   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:28 PM (#4194936)
Jackson and Felsch weren't voluntary retirements.

Clark had back issues. Mantle had knee issues.

Arlett played just one season in the big leagues - with the Phillies - and finished fourth in HR. But he was such a poor fielder, he was sold back to the International League where he held the home run record for over 50 years. He finished his career as the minor league record holder for home runs.

Evans final season came in the Federal League, which folded after his good season, and he wasn't able to catch on in the AL or NL.

Huelsman only played two seasons in the bigs, bouncing around with five clubs in 1904 before having his career season in 1905. He was then demoted.

Schulte lost all his power, but walked a ton, which keeps his OPS+ up.

Keister bounced around because of atrocious defense.

Injuries ended Greenburg's career.

Puckett was struck in the eye and lost his sight.

In the divisional era, only 13 players have posted an OPS+ of 100 or better in their final season (while qualifying for the batting title). Clark is one, Puckett is another. A third is Vlad Guerrero who may not be done. Can you name the other ten? (Hint, you have definitely heard of all ten, although Steve Cox almost makes the list).
   16. BochysFingers Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:29 PM (#4194937)
So that leaves Steve Evans, who even as a diehard baseball fan I can honestly say I've never heard of, with the second best season of the legitimate qualifiers. And that was nearly 100 years ago.

   17. cercle Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:33 PM (#4194939)
I'd swear he had the nickname "the Natural" but b-r says no. In fact it says nobody ever has

Although a quick search didn't show any results, I am positive that there was a Will Clark poster with the caption "The Natural". I don't know if this was a widely used nickname or not, but I remember the poster distinctly.
   18. BochysFingers Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:35 PM (#4194942)
In the divisional era, only 13 players have posted an OPS+ of 100 or better in their final season (while qualifying for the batting title). Clark is one, Puckett is another. A third is Vlad Guerrero who may not be done. Can you name the other ten? (Hint, you have definitely heard of all ten, although Steve Cox almost makes the list).

It seems as if position hitters are more likely than pitchers to hang around as a scrub, thereby limiting the number of possibilities for this achievement. Or their final season is cut short. My first ten lookups on bbref all read 'fail'.

I hadn't realized how far Magglio Ordonez's dropoff was. Damn!
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:46 PM (#4194945)
An injury cut short one of the ten.

An odd circumstance cut short the career of another.

One went to Japan.

The rest just retired.

Two of them retired in the 70s. Two retired in the 90s. The rest retired in the last decade.
   20. BochysFingers Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:49 PM (#4194947)
Would Troy Neel be the Japan-bound player? I'm not sure he quite qualified for the batting title in '94.
   21. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:51 PM (#4194948)
Will Clark not only hit as a rookie, he had charisma, confidence, and seemed to be having a great deal of fun. Quite a contrast from the Jim Davenport-led Giants the year before.

This.

My personal opinion, based on nothing but my own observations, is that Clark's lack of fame stems from his unfortunate speaking voice. I heard him talk on camera only twice, but that was enough. I knew then that "sportscaster" was not in his future, nor were "lots of interviews." It's not fair, of course. Your speaking voice, about which you can do approximately nothing, shouldn't interfere with your fame as a baseball player. But in Clarks' case, he just drew the wrong genetic straw. - Brock Hanke

Also, this.

Clark's voice was kind of high and squeaky, especially when he got excited.
I remember after the Giants made the playoffs the first time with him, seeing a very young Clark in the locker room screeching about how he'd "WAITED A LONG TIME FOR THIS, BABY!!!"
He just sounded awful.
   22. Sweatpants Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:54 PM (#4194949)
In the divisional era, only 13 players have posted an OPS+ of 100 or better in their final season (while qualifying for the batting title). Clark is one, Puckett is another. A third is Vlad Guerrero who may not be done. Can you name the other ten?
The only one I can think of is Jermaine Dye.
   23. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:56 PM (#4194951)
In the divisional era, only 13 players have posted an OPS+ of 100 or better in their final season (while qualifying for the batting title). Clark is one, Puckett is another. A third is Vlad Guerrero who may not be done. Can you name the other ten?

The batting title makes it especially tough to guess. I've only guessed one guy who qualified and he just missed the OPS+ mark (Mattingly).

I'm done looking these up. I'm going to guess 10 more without checking. Paul O'Neil, Wade Boggs, Luis Gonzalez, Roberto Clemente, Thurman Munson (I figured the two hitters famous for dying in the middle of their career seemed like a decent bet), Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker, Ray Lankford, Jeff Bagwell, and David Nilson (not sure if that's how you spell it, the Australian catcher).

   24. Sweatpants Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:58 PM (#4194952)
Oh, Albert Belle in 2000.
   25. Floyd Thursby Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:59 PM (#4194954)
I'm pretty sure this is the greatest article I've ever read. Pure genius. Tears. I have tears. I wonder if there's a PayPal account we can send tips to. You know, a gratuity?

Who's with me?
   26. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:00 AM (#4194955)
Clark's nicknames were The Natural and Will the Thrill. He had an unfortunate voice and made bizarre faces all the time, too. But that swing...
   27. BochysFingers Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:01 AM (#4194956)
The end to Dye's career was a bit strange - he obviously could still hit, but upon reaching free agency after the 2009 season with the White Sox, I never heard any rumblings about him negotiating with anybody. Any insight here?

I'm guessing Belle is the 'strange circumstance', although I believe he was also injured.
   28. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:03 AM (#4194957)
Jermaine Dye, Albert Belle, Paul O'Neill are all answers. The rest are not.

One of the players is probably more famous for being a manager, although he was a very decent player that played over a decade.

Belle is the injury. The "strange circumstance" is really a poor way of putting it, but I don't want to give it away. Cowboy Popup was on the right track.

And for the record, Will Clark was probably my favorite NL player from 1988-1990 (him or Eric Davis). I still have my Starting Lineup figurine of him.
   29. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:04 AM (#4194958)
I got one!

Any insight here?

I remember that. He refused to take a NRI or minor league contract and refused to DH. Problem was he was grading out as such a terrible fielder that it cancelled out his hitting value and no one wanted to play him in the field. He didn't seem like he minded. I think the Mariners may have kicked the tires at one point but he was still adamant about playing the field.
   30. BochysFingers Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:05 AM (#4194959)
I would've thought Roberto Clemente, but he didn't have enough appearances in 72 (He had 413). I wonder if you just gave him the extra 55 or so appearances necessary, making them all outs (keep in mind that teams only played 154 that year), if his OPS+ would have still been above 100.
   31. BochysFingers Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:07 AM (#4194960)
The "strange circumstance" is really a poor way of putting it, but I don't want to give it away.

This is making me think this fellow's career ended in 1994.
   32. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:09 AM (#4194961)
and no one's mentioned Clark's first AB in MLB--quick--without looking-who has the most HRs among those who hit a HR in his first AB?
   33. shoewizard Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:12 AM (#4194962)
The "strange circumstance" is really a poor way of putting it, but I don't want to give it away. Think of ways other than injury players have had their careers ended.


Lyman Bostock ?
   34. Sweatpants Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:14 AM (#4194963)
and no one's mentioned Clark's first AB in MLB--quick--without looking-who has the most HRs among those who hit a HR in his first AB?
Gary Gaetti?
   35. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:17 AM (#4194964)
Oh man, Shawn Green is absurdly close but is just short in PAs. I need to walk away from this before it keeps me up all night. I look forward to learning the answers in the morning.
   36. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:17 AM (#4194966)
Bostock is right.
   37. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:23 AM (#4194968)
and no one's mentioned Clark's first AB in MLB--quick--without looking-who has the most HRs among those who hit a HR in his first AB?

Gary Gaetti?

correct, sir
   38. TerpNats Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:25 AM (#4194969)
The Giants developed outfielders -- Bobby Bonds, George Foster, Garry Maddox, Gary Matthews -- and then sprinkled them around the rest of the league like Johnny Outfielderseed, giving them away as if there were a concerted effort to keep the Giants awful.
Did Spec Richardson have anything to do with some of those deals? We all remember how he traded away the fruit of Houston's farm system (e.g., Joe Morgan), but let's not forget he spent four years in San Francisco's front office, too.
   39. Howling John Shade Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:29 AM (#4194973)
I'm pretty sure this is the greatest article I've ever read. Pure genius. Tears. I have tears. I wonder if there's a PayPal account we can send tips to. You know, a gratuity?

Who's with me?


Bisbee also blogs at McCovey Chronicles.

And yes, I definitely remember "the Natural" as a nickname. He really did have one of the most bad-ass stances of all time as well. It was one of those baseball swings that makes 11 year olds think about physics.
   40. Tripon Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:40 AM (#4194976)
Grant Bisbee's is probably one of the most underrated writers on the net right now. I'd post more of his work, but as an admitted Dodgers fan, I find it hard to post a lot of stuff from a Giants' website. At least I don't go to McCovey Chronicles' often enough to see Grant's work on a regular basis.
   41. Bhaakon Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:43 AM (#4194979)
Bisbee also blogs at McCovey Chronicles.


I hear that he also posts on BBTF under a super secret pseudonym, and that he's total self-promoter.
   42. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:54 AM (#4194983)
I hear that he also posts on BBTF under a super secret pseudonym, and that he's total self-promoter.
Yes, but he probably doesn't misspell his last name, which is actually "Brisbee," and not "Bisbee."
   43. Bhaakon Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:56 AM (#4194984)
Yes, but he probably doesn't misspell his last name, which is actually "Brisbee," and not "Bisbee."


A pseudonym so secret that it has fooled two posters already.

But I've said too much
   44. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:56 AM (#4194985)
I'm going to bed, but the answers to the trivia question were:

Wes Parker (went to Japan)
Al Kaline
Doug Rader
Lyman Bostock (killed)
Carney Lansford
Chili Davis
Paul O'Neill
Albert Belle
Kenny Lofton
Jermaine Dye

   45. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:57 AM (#4194986)
A pseudonym so secret that it has fooled two posters already.

But I've said too much
So it's you then?

EDIT: A brief search of the BBTF archives suggests that yes, it possibly is. If so, hey, great job with this article.

SECOND EDIT: Or wait, maybe it's "Floyd Thursby," who posted a curious "let's all hit the tipjar!" post and whose name sounds like a slight variation on "Grant Brisbee." Actually, that might be the one. Dangit, I hate these sorts of games.
   46. shoewizard Posted: July 29, 2012 at 01:00 AM (#4194988)
Thanks for the fun
   47. Bhaakon Posted: July 29, 2012 at 01:02 AM (#4194989)
EDIT: A brief search of the BBTF archives suggests that yes, it probably is. Hey, great job with this article.


Nope. Man, that is one tricky pseudonym.

SECOND EDIT: Or wait, maybe it's "Floyd Thursby," who posted a curious "let's all hit the tipjar!" post and whose name sounds like a slight variation on "Grant Brisbee." Dangit, I hate these sorts of games.


But not tricky enough, apparently.
   48. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: July 29, 2012 at 01:03 AM (#4194991)
Nope. Man, that is one tricky pseudonym.
Check my second edit. And a search of BBTF 100% confirms it. I'm so naive!
   49. Howling John Shade Posted: July 29, 2012 at 01:34 AM (#4195004)
Check my second edit. And a search of BBTF 100% confirms it. I'm so naive!


My only excuse is that I'm drunk. Grant, please return the money I donated via paypal. It was really intended for orphans in Darfur, but you caught me at a weak moment.
   50. Boxkutter Posted: July 29, 2012 at 02:20 AM (#4195013)
Clark's voice was kind of high and squeaky, especially when he got excited.
I remember after the Giants made the playoffs the first time with him, seeing a very young Clark in the locker room screeching about how he'd "WAITED A LONG TIME FOR THIS, BABY!!!"


Clark when excited. The above description hit the nail on the head. But I don't hear it much in his normal speaking voice.
   51. bjhanke Posted: July 29, 2012 at 02:38 AM (#4195015)
Clark's voice was not only high and squeaky, it was raspy and also loud, even when he wasn't excited (I heard him in normal mode once). When exited (the one time I heard him in that mode), it was REALLY loud and REALLY squeaky. But even in normal mode, the biggest problem was that it was so odd that it was arresting. You couldn't stop listening to it, and that just magnified the effect. I paid attention to this because I am the same as a singer. I'm in a medieval re-creation group called the Society for Creative Anachronism. About 30 years ago, our kingdom (Calontir, essentially Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa) had a "worst singing voice" contest. Everyone assumed that Lady Morgana would win because she was actually proud of being loud and off-key. She was allowed to finish her song. I didn't get through 16 bars before they made me stop and awarded me the title. No one since has been foolish enough to hold another such contest. I NEVER sing in public, and Clark basically doesn't speak in public. On the other hand, my candidacy for any Halls does not depend on people not forgetting me, which happened to Clark as he retired and never was heard on ESPN again. Boxkutter's links will show you why. - Brock
   52. Boxkutter Posted: July 29, 2012 at 02:45 AM (#4195016)
Brock, after that story, I am adding "Hear Brock Hanke sing" to my bucket list. I've been described (by my daughter's mother, before we broke up, so it was someone who cared) as sounding like 'Bob Dylan on crack' when I do karaoke.
   53. bjhanke Posted: July 29, 2012 at 03:11 AM (#4195019)
RE: PASTE (#12) - The James comment you remember about Giant outfielders is the Gary Mathews comment in the New Historical Abstract (#46 in left field).

Box - Bob Dylan on crack is a pretty high standard. I don't know if I can match that. I have, however, been told by my brother, his girlfriend, and my girlfriend to stop, what could not have been 8 bars into a song, in the car double-dating on New Year's Eve. They had just spent 15 minutes demanding that I sing along. When you're THAT bad, you're pretty much willing to go up against anything, so if you catch me sometime, you might be able to talk me into it. The description I got from the SCA judges was that my voice is very loud (which it is, even just speaking), and very arresting (which it also is when I am just speaking). Apparently, I sing in a monotone, and that tone is not anywhere on any known music scale. This is from a lady with a Master's degree in music. Why she signed up to judge a "worst singing voice" contest, I will never know, but she did know how to describe voices. - Brock
   54. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: July 29, 2012 at 03:14 AM (#4195020)
I just read a reference to the Society for Creative Anachronism last night (in the new Neil Stephenson book "Reamde", which is awesomer than you can imagine) and tonight I find an actual member. Will the wonders of BBTF never cease?
   55. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: July 29, 2012 at 03:19 AM (#4195021)
The end to Dye's career was a bit strange - he obviously could still hit, but upon reaching free agency after the 2009 season with the White Sox, I never heard any rumblings about him negotiating with anybody. Any insight here?


I thought it was a mix of:

- His dreadful second half. He mashed during the first half, which masks just how terrible he was after the break. Lost about 100 points on his OPS, 150 points on his slugging, etc.
- He was an actively bad outfielder by this point and wasn't open to DH'ing.
- I could be thinking of someone else - hell, this could apply to hundreds of now-retired ballplayers - but I thought he also wasn't interested in being a part-time player, which I think was what the handful of teams interested in him after the 2009 season viewed him as.
   56. Walt Davis Posted: July 29, 2012 at 03:49 AM (#4195025)
"Floyd Thursby," who posted a curious "let's all hit the tipjar!" post and whose name sounds like a slight variation on "Grant Brisbee."

Thursby is a minor character in the Maltese Falcon -- I think he's Spade's partner that gets killed right off the bat. Or it's one of Greenstreet's phony names.

Oh an IMDB check embarrasses me. Of course Spade's partner was Miles Archer. Thursby is an early murder victim.
   57. cardsfanboy Posted: July 29, 2012 at 08:04 AM (#4195037)
I just read a reference to the Society for Creative Anachronism last night (in the new Neil Stephenson book "Reamde", which is awesomer than you can imagine) and tonight I find an actual member. Will the wonders of BBTF never cease?
 


Used to be a member when I was younger, my sister got married in an SCA ceremony (first husband, she is now on her third)
   58. zenbitz Posted: July 29, 2012 at 08:26 AM (#4195040)
Not only do i read mccoveychronicles, but i am in the oakland airport after breezing through security with my conical helm and gauntlets in my carry on. Off too the biggest SCA war -- Pennsic -- for two weeks.
   59. BDC Posted: July 29, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4195096)
I guessed Lou Brock to the trivia question: his OPS+ in 1979 was exactly 100 by current reckoning. Another case of somebody clearly wanting to quit while he was ahead, or at least breaking even; Brock had had miserable seasons in 1977-78 and didn't want to leave that as his final impression.
   60. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: July 29, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4195098)
Off too the biggest SCA war -- Pennsic -- for two weeks.


So ... mother's dungeon rather than mother's basement.
   61. SoSH U at work Posted: July 29, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4195099)
One of the players is probably more famous for being a manager, although he was a very decent player that played over a decade.


Mike Hargrove?
   62. Scott Lange Posted: July 29, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4195101)
I've never heard Clarks' voice, but his lack of fame may also have to do with his character, or lack thereof. He has a reputation as a lousy teammate and a racist, among other things. I'd imagine he could've rubbed the fans and/or media the wrong way too.
   63. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: July 29, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4195105)
I've never heard Clarks' voice, but his lack of fame may also have to do with his character, or lack thereof. He has a reputation as a lousy teammate and a racist, among other things. I'd imagine he could've rubbed the fans and/or media the wrong way too.

I loved Clark, but his last year in San Francisco didn't end well. Bonds hit down in the order all year to accommodate Clark even though it was clear by then Bonds was an immensely better hitter. He also bragged a lot about how he didn't work out which, at the time, seemed folksy and kind of superhuman, but as he aged at the power dried up it didn't seem as cute. I still think he's great and a HOFer, but I don't want to completely whitewash his time with the Giants. I don't think that he was a racist or a bad teammate, though, until the end when he was no longer the team's alpha dog. A lot of that stuff came from Jeff Leonard so until I see it from a more credible source, I won't take it too seriously. Leonard seems like a guy who's always looking for a beef.
   64. Accent Shallow Posted: July 29, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4195107)
This is from a lady with a Master's degree in music. Why she signed up to judge a "worst singing voice" contest, I will never know, but she did know how to describe voices.

I think you nailed the reason here -- telling someone "you suck" isn't interesting, but telling someone why they suck kinda is.
   65. SOLockwood Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4195132)
I thought Bonds wanted to hit 5th -- it's where he batted in Pgh.
   66. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: July 29, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4195144)
A lot of that stuff came from Jeff Leonard so until I see it from a more credible source, I won't take it too seriously. Leonard seems like a guy who's always looking for a beef.
ALL of that stuff came from Jeff Leonard. And Leonard, to be perfectly frank, seems exactly like the sort of guy who would either wholly fabricate or exaggerate something in order to paint an enemy as a "racist." I'm not saying that Will Clark wasn't an ornery cuss, I'm just saying that I don't really credit the testimony of Jeff Leonard one whit as evidence of Clark's character. It might as well never have been spoken, as far as I'm concerned.

Also...Will Clark and Bruce Campbell: brothers from another mother? Surely I'm not the only one who's notice this, right?

EDIT: And...the Society for Creative Anachronism? Seriously people? I'm more than a little disturbed to find out that so many Primates are experienced with this. Then again, I speak as a guy whose older brother still journeys out to NoVA to play D&D campaigns on the weekends. But still...c'mon, I'd be more willing to admit a Japanese XXX tentacle-rape-pr0n fetish than to admit membership in the SCA. And I'm a guy who considers Genesis to be his favorite rock group of all time!

SECOND EDIT: On second thought, I'm being too harsh on the SCA and its members.
   67. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: July 29, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4195147)
Oh an IMDB check embarrasses me. Of course Spade's partner was Miles Archer. Thursby is an early murder victim.


Well, they both were. The critical point with Archer's murder is that Sam Spade had been sleeping with his wife, so he knew he'd become the prime suspect in his partner's death early in the cops' investigation.
   68. Lassus Posted: July 29, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4195159)
My sole Will Clark story was that in the last baseball year of Candlestick, they played random videos of players and coaches and celebrities and the like on the jumbotron talking about the stadium and basically how difficult it was to play there and how thrilled they were be to be leaving. Except Clark. He went on and on about how he never understood what everyone's problem was and that he loved playing at Candlestick. I think that particular day it was like mid-july and like 59 degrees or some nonsense. The stadium was laughing at Clark's video. Some people - jokingly - started to boo.
   69. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: July 29, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4195164)
I thought Bonds wanted to hit 5th -- it's where he batted in Pgh.

Wasn't it a 3-4-5 of Clark / Williams / Bonds? That's a pretty nasty heart o' lineup.
   70. Bob Tufts Posted: July 29, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4195165)
Jeff Leonard - Penitentiary Face, HacMan, One Flap Down - now those were interesting nicknames. And the 00 uniform number to boot!

In my dealings with Jeff from 1978 to 1982, I never had any problems despite our different backgrounds and never felt any racial/racist vibes. I think I gave him more crap than he deserved, especially about going to Overbrook High in Philly, the same school that Wilt Chamberlain attended and how Leonard had no hoop skills.

   71. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: July 29, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4195168)
EDIT: And...the Society for Creative Anachronism? Seriously people? I'm more than a little disturbed to find out that so many Primates are experienced with this. Then again, I speak as a guy whose older brother still journeys out to NoVA to play D&D campaigns on the weekends. But still...c'mon, I'd be more willing to admit a Japanese XXX tentacle-rape-pr0n fetish than to admit membership in the SCA. And I'm a guy who considers Genesis to be his favorite rock group of all time!


Well, at least it's not just me. Though for once I was biting my tongue (or, I guess I should say, my fingers).
   72. zenbitz Posted: July 29, 2012 at 04:45 PM (#4195259)
It does prevent me from looking down on other peoples weird hobbies. On the plus side, the fighting actually keeps me in shape (i take it seriously)
   73. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 29, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4195284)
EDIT: And...the Society for Creative Anachronism? Seriously people? I'm more than a little disturbed to find out that so many Primates are experienced with this. Then again, I speak as a guy whose older brother still journeys out to NoVA to play D&D campaigns on the weekends. But still...c'mon, I'd be more willing to admit a Japanese XXX tentacle-rape-pr0n fetish than to admit membership in the SCA. And I'm a guy who considers Genesis to be his favorite rock group of all time!


I can easily imagine members of the SCA playing "Harlequin" on lutes and stuff...
   74. Walt Davis Posted: July 29, 2012 at 06:00 PM (#4195324)
Brock had had miserable seasons in 1977-78 and didn't want to leave that as his final impression.

Well, that and being stuck on 2900 hits.
   75. Walt Davis Posted: July 29, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4195331)
And I'm a guy who considers Genesis to be his favorite rock group of all time!

SECOND EDIT: On second thought, I'm being too harsh on the SCA and its members.


Just sayin'
   76. Moeball Posted: July 29, 2012 at 07:42 PM (#4195422)
1. Shoeless Joe Jackson 1920 - 172
2. Will Clark 2000 -145
3. Mickey Mantle 1968 - 143
4. Happy Felsch 1920 - 143
5. Buzz Arlett 1931 - 138
6. Steve Evans 1915 - 138
7. Frank Huelsman 1905 - 135
8. Frank Schulte 1918 - 134
9. Bill Keister 1903 - 133
10.Hank Greenburg 1947 - 131


OK, I need some help from people smarter than me.

I looked up Bonds' last season in 2007 and he had 477 total PA. IIRC, they had to use the "imputed AB" rule on him for the OBA championship. I.E., even with 25 fewer PA than the minimum 502 needed to qualify, if you added 25 outs to his 477 PA his OBA was still well above anyone else's (he had a .480 OBA that year - not too shabby for a guy turning 43 that season) and he could still be declared the champion. Hmm, for that matter I think they also used the "Ted Williams" rule on Tony Gwynn for the BA title in 1996 (he was 4 PA shy of 502 but his .353 BA was high enough to win even with the 4 extra imputed outs). Again IIRC the rule came into being after the 1954 season when Ted Williams had <400 AB but >500 PA due to all the walks(batting title was based on AB instead of PA in those days).

Anyways, back to my question - per BBRef, Bonds had a 169 OPS+ in 2007 - even if you gave him 25 additional outs, wouldn't his OPS+ have still been around 145-150 and "qualifying" for the list above?
   77. SoSH U at work Posted: July 29, 2012 at 08:00 PM (#4195439)

Anyways, back to my question - per BBRef, Bonds had a 169 OPS+ in 2007 - even if you gave him 25 additional outs, wouldn't his OPS+ have still been around 145-150 and "qualifying" for the list above?


The fact that qualifying is in quotations answers your own question. This isn't a category in any meaningful sense, but merely a listing of the players with the highest OPS+ in their final season, with enough PAs to cross a specific threshold. Since Bonds didn't crack that threshold, he's not eligible.
   78. dmunk Posted: July 29, 2012 at 08:37 PM (#4195490)
Wasn't it a 3-4-5 of Clark / Williams / Bonds? That's a pretty nasty heart o' lineup.


The Pacific Sock Exchange!
   79. zonk Posted: July 29, 2012 at 09:07 PM (#4195499)
I have always believed "Penitentiary Face" to be the greatest nickname in the history of nicknames.
   80. The District Attorney Posted: July 29, 2012 at 11:48 PM (#4195560)
It's "Correctional Facility Face." Please be sensitive.
   81. bjhanke Posted: July 30, 2012 at 05:27 AM (#4195611)
RE: several posts - Bonds, when he was in Pittsburgh, demanded to hit fifth instead of third. He said, and it makes perfect sense, that the team kept bringing up RBI in contract talks, so he wanted to hit where the RBI were, rather than where the Runs Scored are. I've always wondered whether that was just selfishness and greed on Barry's part, or whether he knew more about baseball than most people think, and was trying, in his own way, to expose the old fallacies that clubs still use in bargaining. Or, Barry being Barry, maybe both.

RE: The SCA - I've been in the group since 1975, so I guess I have "experience." The idea of trying to do the SCA out of your mother's basement is hilarious. The SCA is a VERY social organization. Every weekend, there's an "event" (tournament with a feast, arts symposium, something) nearby, so SCA hardcores spend a LOT of time in other cities, interacting with people from all over and exchanging info on how to do things, etc. There are people who make their entire living building armor for the fighters. This is a steady job for them, not a side activity. I direct plays, although not often, because they take me 15 months to do. There are 6 months of research, some of which has to be done in the Washington U. library because some of that stuff Still isn't on the internet anywhere I can find. Then it's nine months of rehearsals, because SCA people are so busy that the average actor can only give you one or two rehearsals a week. Their other weeknights are tied up with other projects. Yes, that can get REAL insular and life-consuming, but the standards of workaholism are high. SCA people are driven. My local group, the Barony of 3 Rivers (STL) just got finished making a sailable half-scale replica of a viking longship. Out of cardboard. Strong enough that it not only floated, but carried a few people within it. This was not for the SCA, it was for a CHARITY outside of the SCA. But it was the SCA group who built the thing and entered it into the contest to raise money for the charity. They won easily. No one else was willing to work that hard at it. And these people, of course, were also doing the things they normally do in the SCA at the same time. Back when I was a serious fighter (I came in second in the tourney to rule Calontir twice) I spent two evenings in fighter practice or a tourney, plus the other weeknights at the gym. And directed plays. And heralded court. It's ridiculously involving, but it is NOT something you can really do in your mother's basement with no social skills.

Oh, and Cardsfanboy - Do you know the SCA names, or even the mundane (non-SCA) names, of the people involved in the marriage? I probably remember it, if it was in STL, and may have performed the ceremony. - Brock.
   82. bunyon Posted: July 30, 2012 at 06:00 AM (#4195613)
(i take it seriously

Of course you do.


Seriously, any hobby, when viewed from outside the hobby seems strange and compulsive.
   83. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: July 30, 2012 at 09:24 AM (#4195660)

RE: The SCA - I've been in the group since 1975, so I guess I have "experience." The idea of trying to do the SCA out of your mother's basement is hilarious. The SCA is a VERY social organization. Every weekend, there's an "event" (tournament with a feast, arts symposium, something) nearby, so SCA hardcores spend a LOT of time in other cities, interacting with people from all over and exchanging info on how to do things, etc. There are people who make their entire living building armor for the fighters. This is a steady job for them, not a side activity. I direct plays, although not often, because they take me 15 months to do. There are 6 months of research, some of which has to be done in the Washington U. library because some of that stuff Still isn't on the internet anywhere I can find. Then it's nine months of rehearsals, because SCA people are so busy that the average actor can only give you one or two rehearsals a week. Their other weeknights are tied up with other projects. Yes, that can get REAL insular and life-consuming, but the standards of workaholism are high. SCA people are driven. My local group, the Barony of 3 Rivers (STL) just got finished making a sailable half-scale replica of a viking longship. Out of cardboard. Strong enough that it not only floated, but carried a few people within it. This was not for the SCA, it was for a CHARITY outside of the SCA. But it was the SCA group who built the thing and entered it into the contest to raise money for the charity. They won easily. No one else was willing to work that hard at it. And these people, of course, were also doing the things they normally do in the SCA at the same time. Back when I was a serious fighter (I came in second in the tourney to rule Calontir twice) I spent two evenings in fighter practice or a tourney, plus the other weeknights at the gym. And directed plays. And heralded court. It's ridiculously involving, but it is NOT something you can really do in your mother's basement with no social skills.


Bravo! The first step, they say, is admitting that you've got a problem.
   84. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 30, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4195732)
He also bragged a lot about how he didn't work out which, at the time, seemed folksy and kind of superhuman, but as he aged at the power dried up it didn't seem as cute.


I also remember stories about how spent the whole winter fishin' and huntin', and didn't pick up a bat or do any sort of baseball work until spring training. As someone who is notably short of athletic ability, I found it irritating that someone who was so naturally gifted would be so cavalier with his talents. Give me Edgar Martinez any day.
   85. deputydrew Posted: July 30, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4195838)
I'm not sure if anyone cares, but here's my personal ode to Will. It is on my website: www.thrill22.com - The Will Clark Gallery.

I've been a baseball fan for as long as I can remember. I remember playing in the backyard with my best friends, going to Brewer games with my Dad and playing on as many little league teams as I could, usually as the pitcher or third baseman. I also collected baseball cards. Lots of them. Though my childhood collection has cards dating back to 1977 and 1978, I really began collecting cards in 1982. Growing up in Wisconsin, 1982 was the summer of Harvey's Wallbangers, with Robin Yount, Gorman Thomas and Pete Vukovich taking the team all the way to game seven of the World Series. I quickly caught baseball fever, and collecting thousands of cards was only the most obvious symptom.

Like most young baseball fans, I went through a series of favorite players and teams. I became a Steve Garvey fan when he was traded to the Padres and then led them to the World Series in 1984. Tony Gwynn came along for the ride, and I had maybe a dozen cards of each of them. The 1983 Topps Traded Steve Garvey was probably my favorite, as there was just something about the white card stock and the bright colors. Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken were soon to follow. I collected as many of Cal's 1983 Topps card as I could, probably because his 1982 Topps rookie card was already priced out of my reach. I think I drafted them with my first two picks in my two-person fantasy baseball league in 1985 or so. The league might have only lasted a week, but I'm pretty sure that Cal and Eddie had me on top.

Rickey Henderson was another favorite of mine, especially after he was traded to the Yankees in 1985. Rickey was just cool. Cool like Jack Nicholson. The way he walked was cool. The way he dangled his fingers while taking a lead off of first was cool. Heck, even his jeri-curl in 1985 was cool. I had a stack of Rickey Henderson cards, and I think most kids my age did. Most of the time, the only way I would trade you a Rickey Henderson is if you were crazy enough to give up a Don Mattingly card. Almost no one was foolish enough to do that.

I think all young baseball fans collected Don Mattingly cards during his glory years of 1984 to 1989. His 1986 Topps card is, in my mind, one of the perfect cards of the era. It's got a great design and perfectly captures the finish to Mattingly's beautiful swing. Unfortunately, his 1987 Topps card didn't live up to his star status. I have a very clear memory of my first glimpse of that card, and the disappointment it brought. How could Topps use such a boring picture for the best and most collected player of the year?

Interestingly, my sister even became a baseball card collector for a few years, though for different reasons. She had a small collection of Robin Yount, George Brett and Jim Palmer cards that she acquired either from her extremely generous younger brother or from the flea market that I scoured for cards for hours at a time. Years later she wanted me to sell her cards, but I never did. I'm glad I didn't, as I still have many of them, and always will.

1986 was probably the year that I started to look at baseball cards as more than just something fun to collect and trade. It may have been the 1986 Donruss Jose Canseco card that really started it for me. Canseco was so hyped during the spring of 1986 that his Donruss card quickly climbed to over six dollars, driving up the price of wax boxes and making them nearly impossible to find on gas station or grocery store shelves. In addition to Canseco, the summer of 1986 saw an impressive crop of rookies, including Wally Joyner, Bo Jackson, Will Clark, Cory Snyder, Ruben Sierra and Pete Incaviglia. Oh yeah, some guy named Barry Bonds was in that class, too. For some reason, I immediately took an interest in Will Clark.

I started collecting Will Clark cards in 1987 and I haven't stopped. I may have taken extended breaks from time to time, but my collection has grown steadily over the last twenty years. At one point, likely in 1989, I decided to buy as many copies of Will's 1987 rookie cards as I could find, with a limit of $1.00 each. (I do recall breaking that limit for a trio of 1987 Fleer rookies that set me back $1.25 each.) I was able to put together quite a collection of Will's rookies. While the cards may not have tremendous value today, they did see some impressive gains in the early 1990s, with his 1987 Fleer card reaching a peak of about $35. In fact, I once packaged 15 or so of those Fleer cards and sent them to a dealer. While I don't recall the exactly how much I received for the cards, it did allow me to buy a new pair of Air Jordans, so I was pretty happy with the deal.

As Will's career took off, I followed him more and more closely, and quickly became a Giants fan, as well. I was a full-blown Giants fan by the time they won the NL West in 1989. That fall Will put on one of the most dominating performances in the history of the postseason, leading the Giants to a four games to one win over the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series. Will hit an amazing .650 with two homeruns and eight runs batted in during the NLCS. He slugged an incredible 1.200 and was, not surprisingly, named Most Valuable Player.

Will hit both his homeruns in game one, including a grand slam off the Cubs' young ace, Greg Maddux. Some say that grand slam is responsible for a slight, but widespread, change in the game. The homer came immediately after Maddux and his catcher, Rick Wrona, had a conference at the mound. Maddux apparently said words to the effect of "I'm gonna throw him a curveball." While Will has never admitted as much, the longstanding rumor is that Will read Maddux's lips and crushed the curveball for a grand slam. Today, most pitchers and catchers hold their gloves over their mouths while talking on the mound in an effort to prevent future replays of Will's 1989 grand slam.

In addition to starting the 1989 NLCS with a bang, Will ended it with a game-winning line drive off of Cubs closer Mitch Williams. I have a clear memory of watching that game, and that final at bat while standing in the bedroom of my childhood home in Wisconsin. That was a great time to be a Giants fan, and a Will Clark fan in particular. Of course, the excitement of that NLCS would quickly be dashed, as an earthquake rocked San Francisco's Candlestick Park moments before the start of game three of the World Series. The Series was delayed ten days, and the Oakland A's swept Will's Giants four games to none.

While the World Series loss was difficult, and the earthquake was tragic, I became a life-long, die-hard Giants fan that summer and fall. I struggled with the team through the lean years from 1990-1992 and celebrated when they signed Barry Bonds in the off-season before 1993. That 1993 season was perhaps the most bittersweet of all. The Giants surprised most everyone by playing fantastic baseball all summer long. Judged by his high standards, Will had a disappointing season, but the team won 103 games. In what some say was the last great baseball pennant race, the Giants and Atlanta Braves fought all summer long, with the Braves slowly making up ground on the Giants, who had sprinted to a large lead throughout the summer. The teams came into the last day of the season tied at 103-58. While the Giants had to play their hated rival, Los Angeles, the Braves faced expansion team patsy Colorado. The games were both lopsided, as the Dodgers ended the Giants' season with a 12-1 drubbing, just hours after the Braves completed a season sweep of the Rockies with a 5-3 win.

The season was over, and so was Will's career in San Francisco. In late November of 1993 Will signed with the Texas Rangers. It was not a surprising move, as the team chose to resign second baseman Robby Thompson and pitcher Mark Portugal rather than resign its aging, injured star. Even though I saw the move coming, it was still painful. I honestly didn't know how I would react to seeing Will in another uniform. My college roommate asked me if I was going to remain a Giants fan or if I'd be moving my allegiance along with Will. While I told him that I'd be a Giants fan for life, I wasn't really sure it was true. More than a decade later, I can safely say that it was. During Will's career with the Rangers, Orioles and Cardinals I continued to check first to see if the Giants won the night before. Then I'd check to see how Will did. Most of the time he did quite well.

Will seemed rejuvenated in Texas. The power he displayed as a youngster didn't return, but he hit for consistently high average and good on base percentage to go with an excellent glove and fair power. His year and a half in Baltimore were disappointing. He seemed to be playing out the stretch on a team that had little energy or desire. Injuries accumulated and it was clear that the end was on the horizon.

Will's sweet swing and intensity reemerged after a late season trade to St. Louis in 2000. Filling in for injured mega-star Mark McGwire, Will was a dominant force for the Cardinals. He hit homeruns in his first four games for the Cardinals and hit .345 with a .426 on base percentage and .655 slugging percentage. Despite this fifty game stretch, Will quietly retired after the season. He certainly could have signed one more contract, but it seems to me that Will would rather go hunting and fishing in his native Louisiana than train and prepare for another 162 game grind. While I was disappointed, I understood his decision.

I don't know that I'll ever again have a favorite player. Will may not be a Hall-of-Famer, but he was, for a stretch, one of the best and most feared players in the game. That stretch may have been shorter than I hoped, but it was memorable, and it made me a fan for life.

This site is dedicated to Will and my (still expanding) collection of his baseball cards. I hope that you enjoy your stay. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.

Thanks, Will.

Drew

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