Clark new Mavericks mentor

Friday, November 21, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 9:58 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Mid-Missouri Mavericks are the newest chapter in Jack Clark’s baseball odyssey.

The organization introduced Clark as its manager in a press conference Thursday.

Clark, who led the St. Louis Cardinals to National League titles in 1985 and 1987, was a four-time All-Star.

“Jack’s primary vision here is to bring a new competitive level of play to the Mid-Missouri Mavericks,” said Gary Wendt, Mavericks president.

This will be Clark’s second managing job in the Frontier League. Clark managed the River City Rascals during the team’s 1999 inaugural season. The team went 39–45.

“I’m thrilled to be back in Missouri, back in the Frontier League,” Clark said.

“My first year managing in this league was probably one of my most enjoyable in baseball.”

Clark’s baseball travels are numerous. In his career from 1975-92, he played for the San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox.

Clark spent 10 seasons with the Giants before being traded to the Cardinals in 1985. He is probably best known for a dramatic ninth inning, two-out, three-run home run he hit off Dodgers pitcher Tom Niedenufuer to win the 1985 NLCS.

“St. Louis was great for me,” he said. “I hit that home run, and I have been offered to come over to everybody’s house for dinner … forever.”

Bill Lee, commissioner of the Frontier League, said Clark’s return brings greater credibility to the league, which is nonaffiliated.

“With Jack coming back to the league, it just shows the direction that the league itself is going,” Lee said.

“More credibility is being maintained by the league by having individuals such as Jack.”

As a hitting coach and manager, Clark is experiencing the same kind of odyssey he experienced as a player.

After Clark managed the Rascals, the Los Angeles Dodgers hired him as a hitting instructor for Class A San Bernardino. In November 2000, Clark was promoted to the Dodgers, where he was the hitting instructor until he was fired this August.

Now he finds himself in Columbia.

“It’s another journey for me,” he said. “Any time I have anything that I can do in Missouri, it always seems to work out really well.”

Clark is approaching the task of turning around a Mavericks team that went 33-57 and had three managers in its first season with an air of humility.

“We’re just going to have fun,” he said. “It’s going to be fun baseball, and we’re going to try to win some games that we didn’t win last year.

“We may not set the world on fire, but we’re going to improve and we’re going to get better.”

Clark hit 340 home runs in his career. He also had 1,180 RBIs, 1,118 runs scored and 1,262 walks.

He said he would like to return to the major leagues as a coach or manager.

“I am obviously looking forward to getting back into the major leagues at some point,” he said.

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