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Jack Clark
Retired Baseball Great




 

                                                                                                                                                                           

   

Who were your heroes growing up?

I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and my favorite player growing up was Roberto Clemente.  I just liked the way he hit, the way he wore the uniform, and the way he ran the bases.  He was more my idol than my hero.

 

Who was the toughest pitcher you faced?

In the big leagues they’re all tough.  I faced a lot of great ones:  Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, and Steve Carlton – all Hall of Famers.  Sometimes the guys that don’t have the biggest names are the toughest for you individually.  For me there were two pitchers: Rick Reuschel (he had a heavy sinker that would sink in and a slurvy pitch and the angle was hard for me to figure out) & JR Richards (threw about 98 mph fastball and a 96 mph slider and he was a little wild and I could never get comfortable at the plate).  I would have been okay getting a walk against these guys.

 

Who did you hit best against?

A guy named Don Robinson from the Pittsburgh Pirates.  I don’t know if I hit that good against him, but I hit a lot of home runs against him (especially late inning walk off home runs).  All the Pirate pitchers were power pitchers.  They had pitchers that were men, they would challenge you with the fastball.  I always hit well against Pittsburgh.  I always got good pitches and a lot of times I would hit home runs.

 

How has the game changed since you retired?

The game has changed a lot because of Steroids.  It was a fake change.  They are now trying to clean up the game and get back to the way it was.  It was a problem because little shortstops and second basemen were hitting 40, 50, 60 homeruns.  I’m glad that they caught these guys and are getting them out of the game that I love.  I want to see the game flourish and be a great game again.  I’m not bitter, I just love the game that was started by Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Roberto Clemente.   I don’t like the guys that cheated and disrespected the game that I love.  There are tons of great guys out there who are playing honest and straight.

 

What advice do you have for an aspiring pro athlete?

Respect the game.  Nobody is bigger than the game.  It is about the name on the front of the jersey more than the name on the back.  Play as hard as you can for as long as you can.  Make them have to tear the uniform off of you.  Don’t cheat.  Be true to yourself.  Work hard in the off-season.  It is a short career – so go to school and get a good education.  You never want to forget that you were a lucky one for making it.

 

Who is a current player that plays similar to the way you played?

You have to remember that I was an outfielder that used to like to throw people out at the plate.  I was more of a slugger than a homerun hitter.  I would say Vladimir Guerrero because we both have unorthodox stances and are free swingers.