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Saturday, July 28, 2012
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.