Monday, January 26, 2009
#1T Jack Clark
There is a lot to like about the 1988 Score set. Rather than list all the great attributes here on the first card post, I'll mention them as we go along in the set. This particular card happens to be an awesome photo, capturing Clark's gazed fixed on the incoming pitch
The text on the back mentions Clark's streak of games with a walk. Here is a link to such streaks, showing that Clark tied Toby Harrah's mark of 16 games in the A.L. and fell one shy of Willie Randolph's A.L. mark of 17.
Unsurprisingly, that record has since been broken. Here is a link to such streaks occurring 1993 to 2008, and Barry Bonds had 2 streaks longer than 16 games. Nick Johnson had one too.
Clark is actually underrated, I think, for a few reasons. One was that although he was a power hitter, he didn't amass very large HR or RBI totals in many individual seasons, topping 30 HR just once and 100 RBI just twice. Another was that he didn't go to the playoffs very often. And another is that his big free-agent contract with the Yankees was perceived by many as a bust even though the numbers suggest he performed pretty well in his last several seasons. Don't let those factors fool you, though. Clark had a career OPS+ of 137, and was over 125 every season from 1978 to 1991 (except for injury-lost 1986), a period that includes his final years with the Yankees, Padres, and Red Sox, barring his last half-season in 1992. He walked nearly as much as he struck out and was a pretty productive player.
I remember him more for stuff that happened after he retired, such as going bankrupt while owning many cars and allegedly begging for the Dodgers hitting coach job because he needed the money.