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Clark connects Giants to winning days of '80s


Clark connects Giants to winning days of '80s
Fifteen years ago, the Giants made a heartbreaking financial decision to let Will Clark go. Now he is back and will work with young players to instill the ethic that made him so popular among fans when he played.

"It's a very proud moment," Clark said Wednesday after the Giants announced "The Thrill" has been hired as a special assistant to the front office.

Clark was a Giant from his drafting in 1985 through 1993, when he signed with the Rangers as a free agent. In eight seasons with San Francisco, he was an All-Star five times, a Gold Glove first baseman, MVP of the 1989 National League Championship Series and, equally important, a player of relentless intensity.

Managing general partner William Neukom views Clark as the embodiment of his manifesto, entitled "The Giants Way," which is why Neukom and others in the front office approached Clark about returning.

The decision had as much to do with marketing as Baseball. Neukom estimated that Clark's duties will be split about two-thirds in community relations starting with an appearance at the Feb. 7 Giants FanFest and one-third on the field. That will include two weeks at spring training, three visits to San Francisco during the season and some visits to the minors.

The Giants have many great alumni as special assistants, such as Willie Mays and Willie McCovey, but as Neukom said, "What we recognize is, we have these great Giants players from teams in the '60s. We weren't paying enough attention to the fact that a large percentage of our ardent fans grew up with Will Clark and his generation of Giants stars. We want to reinforce that connection."

Clark has worked the last four seasons in the same capacity for the Diamondbacks, who were run by his friend and former agent, Jeff Moorad. Clark said the Giants approached him even before Moorad left the Diamondbacks to pursue purchase of the San Diego Padres.

Clark sees a parallel between his Giants teams of the late '80s and today. His Giants won an NL pennant behind homegrown players four years after a 100-loss season. Clark said today's players can use that as a "rallying cry" as they try to return to contention after four losing seasons.

Clark said donning a Giants uniform this spring will feel different than wearing an Arizona uniform "because I was not a player in that organization. When I come back to San Francisco, that was my longest-tenured team. It was the team I grew up with, the team I made it to the World Series with, and another playoff with. I love a lot of fond memories."

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Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 29, 2009

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