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01/28/09 4:36 PM EST
Giants add Clark with front-office post
'The Thrill' played in San Francisco for eight seasons
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- "The Thrill" is back with the Giants. Will Clark, who remains one of the club's most popular players since the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1958, has been added to the Giants' front office as a special assistant. "I am proud to be part of the Giants family again, especially the family that I was drafted by and grew up in and became a Major Leaguer in," the former first baseman said in a teleconference on Wednesday. "And as Mike Krukow, Bob Brenly and Mike LaCoss used to tell me, part of my job of being a ballplayer was handing down the knowledge I had learned." In his new role, Clark will represent the organization at various in-season and offseason community events in San Francisco, including the 20th anniversary celebration of the 1989 Giants on June 13. He will also attend the Giants' Spring Training camp in Scottsdale, Ariz., and will visit a Giants' Minor League team each year. Clark, 44, joins a host of Giants legends who continue to serve the club in some capacity. Willie Mays is an assistant to team president Larry Baer. Willie McCovey is a senior adviser. Orlando Cepeda and former broadcaster Lon Simmons are community representatives and J.T. Snow is a special assistant. Clark served the previous four seasons as a Spring Training adviser with the Arizona Diamondbacks. But this time, Clark said it's more meaningful because he still feels attached to the Giants organization. "It's a very proud moment. I haven't felt the last four or five years that I was part of the [D-backs] organization because I didn't play in the organization," Clark said. "But coming to San Francisco, this is my longest-tenured team and the team I grew up with and made it to the World Series with. There are a lot of proud memories and I'll be proud to put that jersey on again." Clark spent his first eight Major League seasons with the Giants (1986-93) and helped spur their renaissance in the Bay Area that included a National League West title in 1987 and an NL pennant in 1989. Clark won legions of fans with a mixture of style and substance. The eye black he wore framed a defiant glare that gave him -- and the Giants -- a rugged personality. At the same time, purists swooned over his uppercutting, tension-free swing. "In those eight great years, Will Clark provided offense and defense and leadership by example and attitude," said Giants managing general partner and CEO Bill Neukom in the teleconference. "In the course of his career, he was a favorite of our fans and has been ever since." Clark also hit. He batted .303 with 284 home runs and 1,205 RBIs in 15 seasons, following his Giants tenure with stops in Texas, Baltimore and St. Louis. As a Giant, he batted .299 with 176 homers and 709 RBIs, reaching or exceeding .300 four times and averaging 27 homers and 104 RBIs from 1987-91. He made six All-Star teams, including five with the Giants, and finished among the top five in NL Most Valuable Player balloting four times. Clark enjoyed his best season in 1989, when he hit .333 with 23 homers, 111 RBIs and a league-high 104 runs while finishing second in MVP voting behind teammate Kevin Mitchell. He eclipsed that in the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs by hitting .650 and lining the tiebreaking single in the Giants' Game 5 triumph that sent them to the World Series. Clark remembered that the core of that team came from home-grown talent such as Robbie Thompson, Matt Williams and himself, and that he sees parallels with the current Giants roster. "Some of the younger players in the organization came up together for the first time last year and can build on that," Clark said. "They can make that part of their rallying cry. Two years after we were called up, we were in the playoffs and four years later, we were in the World Series."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Associate reporter Rhett Bollinger contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.