Friday, January 30, 2009

The Thrill is Back!


It is my day off, and so I have the opportunity to indulge my other areas of interest, at least for a moment!


First the News, and then the reflection. The News is that the San Francisco Giants are bringing back Will Clark as a special assistant. He'll have two roles, one is promotional and the other is working with the younger players -- hoping I would suppose to instill some of that intensity that he was known for as a player, especially during his Giant playing days. Smart move, Giants. I've always been a Will Clark fan. Would have named my kid after him, had my wife let me!

I am a life long San Francisco Giants fan. I grew up listening to and watching Giants games, both in Mt. Shasta and Klamath Falls. Willie Mays was nearing the end of his career, so I focused more on Willie McCovey, Gaylord Perry, and Bobby Bonds. Then there was a down period, where the Giants played as bad as it looked in those orange polyester pullover outfits.

Then came April 1986. The Giants brought up two young rookie infielders, who would be fixtures on the left side of the infield for the next half dozen years. Robby Thompson and Will Clark made an immediate impression and the Giants began an upward trend that didn't end until 4 years ago.

I remember that first at bat. The Giants were playing Houston and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan was on the mound. Clark sent Ryan's fastball up into the seats. First at bat, first career home run, and the announcers were starting to talk Hall of Fame. For the next 6 years, Clark displayed Hall of Fame credentials, but injuries limited his playing time and changed his approach. He never developed into the great Home Run threat that Barry Bonds would become, but he continued to hit and to field, and his intensity -- that mug of his, well what can you say?

Clark led the Giants to their first World Series in nearly 30 years in 1989, winning the NLCS MVP, with a valiant series, the included an amazing battle with Greg Maddux, off of whom he hit a Grand Slam, who will himself end up in the Hall of Fame. The Giants would end up losing in 4 games to an overpowering Oakland A's team in the World Series, a series that was disrupted by the famous earthquake. I got to go to the replayed 3rd game -- watched my hero, despite the loss!

So, welcome back Will. We missed you!!

1 comment:

Dave Miller said...

As a long time Giants fan, dating back to Juan Marichal and Wille Mays, I fondly remember the great duel between Will Clark and Mark Grace in the playoffs.

Clark will indeed be a help to the Giants.