Tuesday, June 26, 2012
O' What a Thrill
I was born in 1970. I started playing baseball when I could join my first tee-ball team, somewhere around the age of 6. A couple of years into my Little League career, I started playing catcher. I loved it. No more boring time in right field, no more first base trying to pick errant throws and no more third base worried my teeth were going to get knocked out. Now I could be involved in every pitch and I had more than a couple plays at the plate that I'd pay for a video or picture of if parents took those back then. Of course, I didn't catch all the time. Sometimes I got to pitch. That's a whole different post right there.
Like most kids, I pretended to be some of my favorite players while catching.
I wanted to be Jim Sundberg of the Texas Rangers.
Sometimes I'd pretend to be Johnny Bench.
Those were two of my favorite players early in my playing days.
Along about 1983 or so I got very into college baseball and then followed the 1984 Olympic team with keen interest. It was during this time that Will Clark caught my eye and I became a fan of his. I loved the way he played the game and his intensity was something else. I wasn't a Giants fan, but I was glad he was drafted with the second pick of the 1985 draft. (My Giants hatred didn't really start until the beat the Rangers in the 2010 World Series.) On April 8th, 1986, Clark homered off Nolan Ryan in his first career at-bat.
I followed Clark's career from afar as I spent 1988 to early 1994 in the Navy. I came home in February and I was excited to hear the Rangers signed Clark to a five year contract in 1994. I got to see him play numerous times in person during those 5 years and it was always a "Thrill". One of my favorite cards of Will is this 1996 Leaf auto I pulled from a pack in 1998.
Clark finished his career with 284 homers, 1205 RBIs, 440 doubles and a .303 average. He'll never make the Hall of Fame, but he's my all-time favorite player. I have an autographed 8X10 that resides in a plaque on the wall. This Big D custom is another of my favorite Will Clark cards because it's a one of a kind made just for me.
Thanks to Fuji for getting me to take another look at my favorite player.