Somewhere in the far reaches of my youth memory bank lies a picture of a tall, broad, left-handed hitter who was born seemingly for the express purpose of doing one thing: making the life of my baseball team miserable. Mine personally, mind you. As a kid all you really see is your team. That man is Will Clark. Clark, now 50, will forever live on in my scarred brain as the man with the San Francisco Giants who would play against my team and proceed to not only shred the St. Louis Cardinals, but look directly at the TV and shoot me, specifically, an evil grin of joy.
Clark is one of the most absurdly underrated players of his era. Perhaps the single most consistent hitter of his time, he would post BAs of .300, .301, .303, .308, .305, while amassing a total of .303 for his career. Possessing one of the sweetest swings I have ever seen to this day, Clark rampaged through the National League for 15 of the most dependable seasons a player could produce. Finishing his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, he produced some of the most productive ABs of his career in 2000.
With John Mabry as the current Cardinals hitting coach, replacing Mark McGwire in 2012, the Cardinals have moved down the pecking order of NL hitting in terms of power, and despite leading the league in runs last season, did so in bunches, with many droughts in between. This season the book is out on the team. Throw them strikes and they won’t swing at them. A change is needed. Clark is that change. Would Clark, now an advisor for the Giants front office, even consider it?
That is hard to say. It is believed he did enjoy his time with the Cardinals and Clark always seemed to be up for a challenge. It would be worth a call to find out, as he could help to unlock the trapped power of CF Jon Jay, and reacquaint Matt Adams with his long lost pop. He might also just make swing reticent Matt Carpenter something other than the league’s highest paid observer of fine paintings, of the corners that is.