Now, for those of you that that were born in the last few decades, there was an outfielder for the Giants by the name of Jack Clark. His nickname, and aptly so was "The Ripper" for the simple fact that he was just a pure slugger. He would make baseballs bleed, and the pitchers cringe, he was George Foster & Reggie Jackson bundled into a skinny frame kid that happened to play for a club that was a perennial doormat of the National League West.
Clark was a homegrown Giant, he was drafted in the 13th round of the 1973 amateur draft out of Gladstone High School in Covina, California. Clark would spend the next four years in the minors, with brief stops in The Show as a September callup in 1975 and '76. His first Major League appearance was on September 12, 1975, and in his first at-bat he pinch hit for catcher, Mike Sadek, and walked before eventually scoring. It wasn't until 1977 that Clark made the club out of camp and would start an eight-year run as the starting right fielder. During his time with the Giants, Clark batted .277, with 163 home runs, 595 RBI, and a .359 OBP.
His greatest season with the Giants was in 1978, where he batted .306, with 25 home runs, and 98 RBI and having a .358 OBP, .537 slugging percentage. He would also earn his first All-Star appearance that year, and finished 5th in the National League MVP vote. Keep in mind that he did all of this as a 22 year old kid.
His other impressive season was in 1982, where he batted .274, with 27 home runs, and 103 RBI. He would finish seventh in the NL MVP vote. After the 1984 season, Clark was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, and help lead the RedBirds to the 1985 World Series where they ended up losing to the Kansas City Royals. In his final year (1987) with the Cards, he compiled his best statistical season when he belted 35 home runs, 106 RBI, and leading the league in walks, OBP, Slugging, and OPS. He would also earn his fourth All-Star appearance and finished third in the MVP ballot.
Clark would end up spending the next five seasons between the New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, and Boston Red Sox. His last game was on August 28, 1992, when the Red Sox played against the California Angels. He was 0-for-3 in his last game. In his 18 year career, Clark compiled 340 home runs, 1180 RBI, and a career batting average of .267. Make no mistake about it, he played when pitchers dominated and there is no question if he played today he would rank among the most feared and lethal offensive weapons.
After his playing career ended, Clark would serve as a batting coach for a number of clubs before joining the broadcast rank. He now has his own radio show, Sports Night, on KTRS in St. Louis.
So next time you see a CLARK #22 jersey, don't just think of The Thrill, but remember there was another CLARK #22, and his nickname was "The Ripper."
1982 - Jack Clark at Dodger Stadium
Jack Clark - Younger Years