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WILL POWER

May 28, 1990
May 28, 1990

Table of Contents
May 28, 1990

First Person
Stanley Cup Finals
White Sox
NBA Playoffs
Fittipaldi
Anthony Sherrod
Lacrosse
Track & Field
Will Power
Perspective
Point After

WILL POWER

WITH THE GAME ON THE LINE, GIANTS FIRST BASEMAN WILL CLARK IS A FORMIDABLE FIGURE. AND THE GAME DOES NOT HAVE TO BE BASEBALL

When Will Clarkwas a young boy—four years old, as a matter of fact—he had a black Labradornamed Flash who was a retrieving fool when it came to ducks and baseballgloves. This was in Hattiesburg, Miss., where Will's father was a zone managerfor International Harvester. One day Flash came home with a lefthanded firstbaseman's mitt in his mouth. Will's parents, Bill and Letty, asked around andeven took an ad out in the paper to try to locate the mitt's owner, but no oneclaimed it, and it became Will's. A few weeks later, Flash wandered home withanother first baseman's mitt, this one brand new. The Clarks just knew it hadto have come from the same house, and they tried again, taking out an ad andasking the neighbors if they knew of anyone who was missing a glove. But no onestepped forward to claim it, and Will kept that glove, too. Flash, apparentlysatisfied that his young master was properly equipped, never stole anotherarticle of any kind.

This is an article from the May 28, 1990 issue

Will played withthose gloves throughout high school. It was almost as if the dog had been senton an errand by a higher being, like the one embarked upon by the Kevin Costnercharacter in Field of Dreams, who heard that voice in the cornfield.

Fetch it and hewill come.

Who willcome?

The Thrill.

You would thinkthat someone blessed with such serendipity at an early age would proceedcontentedly through life, secure in the knowledge that Dame Fortune waswatching out for him. (The 26-year-old Clark was, after all, born on a Fridaythe 13th.) But not Will the Thrill, the San Francisco Giants' prodigiouslytalented first baseman. His career in baseball has been marked by anything butcontentment. Clark plays this gentle game of summer with an intensity that is,in a word, disquieting.

"You willnever, ever, do that to me again!" he has been heard to scream at a pitcherwho has gotten him out in a pressure situation. Clark treats each game, each atbat, as a personal affront. He curses and scowls at his own teammates as wellas opponents, the press, the fans and, especially, himself. There is anaggressive edge to both his play and his manner, a passion that seems out ofplace on a baseball field, more suitable to the arenas of boxing orfootball.

"Will comesto the park every day trying to kick your butt," says San Francisco managerRoger Craig. "His intensity to win is probably more important to this clubthan his statistics."

You can see it inClark's eyes, accentuated as they are by streaks of eye black on hischeekbones, an expression so intense that the Giants have built a team sloganaround it: I'VE GOT A GIANT ATTITUDE. Come across that look outside theballpark—say, on a dark street, alone—and you would think: I've got a giantproblem.

"He motivatesme. He's like my battery charger," says Giants leftfielder Kevin Mitchell,who bats in the cleanup spot, behind Clark. "If he isn't being loud,there's something wrong with him. You can hear his squeaky voice all over thepark. That's why other teams can't stand him. They think he's cocky, but that'sthe only way he can play."

Cocky? Clark?That's hardly a strong enough word. The 6'1", 190-pound Clark not onlybelieves he can hit any pitcher alive, he also believes he can hit him on thebest day of the pitcher's life. Clark has the temperament of a misunderstoodartist. "I'm a masher! Ain't I a masher?" he used to brag in hisshrill, insistent way to his teammates on the 1984 Olympic team. They wouldroll their eyes and wish that he would shut up and hit.

But, of course,he was a masher. You couldn't deny it. He could hit the ball a ton—for averageand for power. While with the Olympic team, Clark outshone a group of starsthat included Mark McGwire, B.J. Surhoff and Barry Larkin, amassing 16 homersand 43 RBIs in 40 games. He had the sweetest swing that anyone had ever seen,an uppercut with a long, loopy follow-through that made it seem as if he werewielding a buggy whip instead of a 32-ounce bat.

The generalmanager of the Giants, Al Rosen, who was working for the Houston Astros at thetime, remembers seeing the Olympic team play an exhibition in the Astrodome andthinking: "That son of a gun Clark is going to make some G.M. a lucky manfor the next 20 years." Little did Rosen know that he would be that luckyG.M.

The remarkablething is the better the pitcher or the tougher the situation, the better Clarkhits. You could look it up. Last season he hit .431, nearly 100 points abovehis overall batting average, against the 10 pitchers in the National Leaguewith the lowest ERAs. Against lefties, the lefthanded-hitting Clark batted anastounding .450 with runners in scoring position.

And that doesn'tcount Clark's most memorable at bat of the year, the one that put the finishingtouch on the best league championship series that any player has ever had, theone that Craig calls "one of the greatest at bats I've ever seen." Itoccurred in the eighth inning of Game 5 against the Chicago Cubs' fireballinglefthanded closer, Mitch Williams, a.k.a. Wild Thing.

It was a classicmatchup, and while Williams warmed up, Clark studied him carefully from theon-deck circle. In Game 1, at Wrigley Field, Clark had picked up a criticalpiece of information by studying another Cub pitcher from that vantage point.It was the fourth inning and the bases were full. Clark kept his eye on Chicagomanager Don Zimmer as he came out to talk to his starting pitcher, Greg Maddux.Most people thought Zimmer was going to yank Maddux and bring in lefthanderPaul Assenmacher. Instead, he told Maddux how he wanted him to pitch toClark.

"I can readMaddux's lips right over the top of Zimmer's head," recalls Clark."He's facing me and repeats, 'Fastball in.' They'd been pitching meoutside. So that's what I'm looking for."

Clark found it,mashing a grand slam to right that effectively put Game 1—in which he had twohomers and six RBIs—out of reach. That, of course, was only the beginning.Clark set league records for a five-game series with 13 hits, eight runs, 24total bases, a .650 average and a 1.200 slugging percentage.

But it was hisfinal at bat of that series, against Williams in Candlestick Park, that peoplebest remember, the one that branded an image of Clark's unique style on thenational consciousness. The bases, again, were full, with two outs and thescore 1-1. Watching Williams loosen up, Mitchell said to Clark, "You knowhe won't throw you a hook."

Clark knew that,all right. He keeps videotapes of all his at bats in his home, both the goodones and the bad ones. They are divided by team and by pitcher, so that beforeeach series Clark can study how various staffs like to pitch him. The manleaves nothing to chance. "Pitchers act differently when they get in abind," he says. "Ninety times out of a hundred, they'll stick withtheir strengths, and if you know what their strength is, you can look forit."

As Wild Thingfinished his warmup tosses, Mitchell said, "We got a job to do, let's doit."

"It'sdone," Clark replied.

Mitchell,recalling the moment, says, "Then he got that sneer on his face, that ClintEastwood look of his, and I thought, I've seen that same movie. Once he said itwas done, I knew it was done."

Looking for apitch, and hitting it, of course, are two different matters. Williams quicklygot ahead of Clark, 0 and 2. He wasted a ball, then Clark fouled back two highfastballs. "I'm hanging on for dear life," Clark recalls. "On thetelevision broadcast, you can hear Vin Scully say, 'In every important seriesthere's a moment where it becomes difficult to breathe and swallow. This isthat moment.' And the camera takes a close-up of me stepping back and trying totake a deep breath. I'm thinking, Right back up the middle. That's the weakestpart of the defense."

And that waswhere Clark lined Williams's next delivery, a 95-mph fastball that Clark nearlyembedded in the second base umpire's chest. Two runs came in, and the Giantsheld on to clinch their first pennant in 27 years.

"Will Clarkis the best baseball player I've ever seen," veteran Giants catcher TerryKennedy said afterward. And it wasn't just when he was at bat that Clark hadshone. He had played brilliantly in the field the entire series, too, throwingout three runners at home and initiating three double plays. He had also runthe bases aggressively. And when reliever Steve Bedrosian got into a jam in theninth inning of Game 5, and the Cubs had moved to within a run, it was Clarkwho walked over to the mound and shouted at the top of his lungs to thepitcher, "It's your game! And you're going to win it!"

It was anall-around performance under pressure that raised Clark a notch, maybe severalnotches, on the baseball ladder, so that comparisons with Stan Musial and TedWilliams no longer seemed fanciful. "He's the best player in the game,"says Rosen, who rewarded Clark in the off-season with a four-year, $15 millioncontract, though Clark was still two years away from free-agent eligibility."He produces under any circumstances, and has a flair for producing bestwhen the pressure is on. His numbers are among the best in baseball. But thereare other factors—his clubhouse and bench presence, his professionalism, histenacity—that make him even more valuable. He's a winner. Always hasbeen."

None of this islost for a moment on Clark. "Are you one proud daddy?" Clark could beheard asking his father during the locker-room celebration after the Giants hadbeaten the Cubs. And Bill had to admit it—he certainly was.

Bill Clark, too,was a player. Not a baseball player. Pool was his game. Nine-ball. "Will'slike me," he says. "If I have to make the 9 ball for two dollars, I'llmake it some and miss it some. But if I have to make it for a hundred dollars,I'll make it a hundred times in a row."

Last February,Bill, 50, was holding court in the Po' Boy Bakery in New Orleans with Will anda small group of friends. Bill is a sales representative for a pest-controlcompany, a good business to be in given the surrounding bayous, the seaport andthe damp climate.

The Po' Boy isknown as a baseball hangout—with players, alums and coaches, many of them fromWill's old school, Jesuit High School, gathered around the tables to chew thefat—a hardball oasis in a football town. That's one of the things Clark likesbest about spending the off-season at home. He can return every fall and beleft more or less in peace while the New Orleans Saints are given the celebritytreatment. It is a far cry from his hero's status in San Francisco, where Clarkhas been tabbed by TV's Evening Magazine as one of the Bay Area's 10 mosteligible bachelors.

The Po' Boyhasn't changed much over the years, except for the signed poster of the Thrillin his Giants uniform on the wall behind the cash register. It's the onlydecoration in the place. Long tubes of exposed fluorescent lights flicker overthe blue linoleum floor. Overhead fans push around the heavy air. A cooler fullof Barq's root beer stands opposite the deli-style counter, which featuresfixings for the poor-boy sandwiches that are the specialties of thehouse—shrimp, meatballs and catfish. A big picture window faces the street,from which a flea-bitten dog wanders in every afternoon to be fed a plateful ofleftovers.

These are Clark'sroots. He is third-generation New Orleans—he was born and, except for fouryears that the family lived in Hattiesburg and Monroe, La., raised there—and hecalls off-season at home his "get back to sanity routine." He is justplain Will here, the scrawny kid with the goofy grin who grew up to be one ofthe best baseball players in the land. But it is Bill who commands the mostrespect in the room. Will hangs on every word as Bill tells the story of thetime that Will's team was beaten 1-0 in a Babe Ruth tournament, even though itspitcher threw a no-hitter. The other pitcher, Bill relates, threw a one-hitter,and the lone run was scored on some sort of an error. Will remembers the gametoo, and he grins.

"Guess whogot the one hit?" Will asks.

His fatherdoesn't miss a beat. "George Herra," he says.

Will's mouthhardens in an incredulous frown. Could his father really believe that?

"That'strue," Bill continues. "George Herra. I'll bet you."

"That'sbull!" Will protests. "I did!"

Bill winks at theother men as they laugh. "Got him that time, didn't I?"

The men continueto discuss baseball for a while, then Bill is cajoled into talking about thedays when he played pool to supplement his income. He didn't pick up the sportuntil he was 16, and before he struck his first ball, he read a book on thetheory of pool. "I got my car, my house and my education because ofpool," Bill says dispassionately. "I wasn't a hustler. I used to tellguys, 'I didn't come to hustle you. I came to beat you.' " The apple, asthey say, never falls very far from the tree. "One thing about a game ofskill, you know how good you are," says Bill. "I don't have to have aderrick fall on my head to know if I'm better than you."

Bill got in hisfirst big-money game at 17. "It was in a pool hall called Buck's," herecalls. "I played from Tuesday at 8 p.m. till Thursday at 10 a.m. withoutstopping. To give you an idea of what money was like at the time, my daddy wasa math professor, and he made $800 all summer teaching summer school. That onegame I made $1,800. My daddy came in every five hours to check up on me, and hestill thought I'd held someone up when I came home and gave the money to him.That money went into a fund that helped me pay for college."

While his friendswere working at the local Dairy Queen for 80 cents an hour, Bill worked thetables for thousands while in college. After graduation he continued to playthe occasional high stakes game and just to be on the safe side, he traveled toarea pool halls with two friends, one of whom was 6'5" and weighed 270pounds. Will remembers seeing his father take $2,000 from a guy in one hour ata place called Whitey's Seafood. "Daddy ran 10 straight racks," Willrecalls. "The guy'd lost $1,000 and hadn't taken a shot yet. Daddy can readthe spin on a cue ball like I can a baseball."

It's difficult toput a finger on such things, but some of the moxie of the professional poolplayer has surely rubbed off on Clark. There are no prizes for second place innine ball. No teammates to rely on when the pressure is intense. It is purely agame of skill. That's the way Clark looks at baseball. Other players talk aboutbad bounces and line drives that go foul by inches. But to Clark, baseball ispurely a test of skill, and it doesn't take a derrick falling on his head forhim to know whether or not he's better than the man on the mound. And if he isbetter, well, that's a confrontation he should win, right? A hundred times outof a hundred. Hence, the outrage when he fails: You will never, ever, do thatto me again.

The days spenthunting and fishing with his father remain the fondest memories of Clark'schildhood. "Baseball was never my first priority," he says. "Ididn't think about playing pro ball till I was a junior in high school. I washaving too much fun being a kid. My dad and I were gone every weekend, huntingor fishing. He brought me up in the woods."

Clark believesthat shooting a shotgun as a boy was one of the main reasons he developed suchspectacular hand-eye coordination. Clark is nearly as deadly from a duckblind—Will the Kill—as he is in a batter's box. "Will shoots ducks beforeanyone else sees them," his father says, a statement that is as much atestament to Will's exceptional eyesight as it is to his aim. Clark has 20/12vision in both eyes-Ted Williams had 20/10 vision in both eyes—and candistinguish a hen from a drake in the gray light of dawn at 70 yards.

And if there isone thing that Clark sees lots of when he's not playing baseball, it is thegray light of dawn. Last fall and winter he hunted every day of the duckseason, from the week before Thanksgiving to the first week in January, onthree square miles he leases on a bayou near Spanish Lake. It is about anhour's drive out of New Orleans and a few miles from the land his father usedto lease, and on weekends Clark took his 13-year-old brother, Scotty, along,just as Bill used to take Will. They stayed on Will's 35-foot-long houseboat, apermanently docked shrimping barge that can, in a pinch, sleep seven. It isoutfitted with a gas stove and lights that run on electricity from a carbattery. "You don't want it too neat and pretty," Clark says.

Each morning heand Scotty awakened at 5 a.m. and put Will's black Lab, Psycho, in the bow oftheir canoe. Then they paddled for five minutes to one of the fiberglass duckblinds planted in the marsh. There are no trees in the bayou, just marsh grassand water, and as the dawn starts to turn the night sky gray, and as the birdsstart to clack and twirr and feedle—well, as Will puts it, "There's nobetter time of day to be in a duck blind."

Will and Scottywould set up their 40 decoys and wait. Within 15 minutes, the ducks—widgeon,teal, mallard—would start flying, and Will would call them in. Since there is athree-duck limit, the shoot was usually over by 7:30.

In the afternoonsthey fished for speckled trout. Then at night, Will cooked dinner: He breastedthe ducks, braised them until brown, then removed the meat from the skillet. Heput onions, seasonings and bell pepper in the skillet, and fried them inbutter. Then he put the duck breasts back in, covered them with water, andsimmered the whole thing for an hour and a half. In the last 15 minutes headded red wine, and he served the meal over rice.

It may not beJames Beard, but for a baseball player on a shrimp barge, it's pretty goodvictuals. "I'll tell you," says Giants pitcher Mike LaCoss, who sharesClark's passion for hunting, "if Will ever marries, it'll be to a girl whoshoots a shotgun and eats wild game."

She had alsobetter like the taste of boar. Last season LaCoss and Clark must have set somesort of major league record by bagging three wild pigs during a hunt innorthern California on an off day in the middle of the pennant race. They alsooccasionally go out to a ranch near Modesto to shoot squirrels. And to keep hisshooting eye sharp, Clark, who estimates he goes through about 25,000 shells ayear, shoots skeet twice a week during the season when the Giants are home inSan Francisco. He consistently breaks 97 or 98 targets out of 100.

Baseball, huntingand a Type A personality. You don't have to look much further than those threethings to get a handle on Will the Thrill.

Work is almost anobsession with me," Clark says. "I can be tough to live with. Maybethat's why nobody lives with me. When you live with somebody else, you have tolearn to be flexible, and I'm not too flexible."

When Clark brokeinto the big leagues, he didn't quietly ease into the show the way a car mergesinto traffic on a freeway. He came hurtling down the ramp at 80 mph, like ahot-rodder full of juice. Ain't I a masher?

After starringfor the Olympic team in 1984, he went back to Mississippi State. The next year,he won the Golden Spikes Award as the top collegiate player in the countrywhile leading the Bulldogs to the College World Series with a .420 average, 25homers and 77 RBIs in 65 games. In June 1985, when Clark was a junior, theGiants made him the second player drafted in the nation, and they assigned himto their Class A team in Fresno. Clark homered twice in his first professionalgame and helped Fresno win the California League title.

In 1986 he movedup to the bigs. The Giants had lost 100 games the year before, and Clark waspromoted as a rookie who could make an immediate impact. He won the first basejob at spring training, then homered in his first big league at bat—off a NolanRyan fastball, of all things, in the Astrodome. In his debut at CandlestickPark, Clark homered again.

Fetch it and hewill come.

Who willcome?

The Thrill.

That's whatGiants catcher Bob Brenly nicknamed him: Will the Thrill. And Clark took to itright away, inscribing THRILL on the back of his helmet. It was more than someof the team's veterans could bear. Clark wasn't the type to sit quietly andobserve how a major leaguer was supposed to act. He was a talker in the lockerroom, the rah-rah type, just as he had always been.

"When we weregrowing up, after we'd moved from Hattiesburg to New Orleans, my sister Robinand I were outsiders," Clark recalls. "We had trouble breaking in.Later on, I was the only one from my elementary school who went to Jesuit HighSchool. Then I was the only guy in my high school who went to MississippiState. I always had to make new friends quick. It made me self-confident. If Iget in a situation where I don't know anyone, I just go, 'Hi, I'm Will.'"

"He wasn'tshy," remembers LaCoss. "And he wasn't humble. He was just a confident,outgoing young man with a high, screeching voice."

Will the Shrill,his teammates called him, chuckling at the way his voice rose an octave as hecalled for pop-ups and nearly cracked when he yelled "Goin'!" after abase stealer broke for second.

But some membersof the team didn't find Clark amusing. One was Jeffrey Leonard, the big,brooding leftfielder who has a scowl that could peel the skin off an onion.Leonard, now with the Mariners, is an intimidator. He likes to see what histeammates, particularly rookies, are made of. He and other veterans did notcotton to all the attention that Clark, who had practically no minor leagueexperience, was getting, so they tested him every chance they got.

One day Clarkbought a brand-new pair of cowboy boots. He returned from practice to find someteammates had spray-painted them orange. It bugged him, but he laughed it off,and eventually the players replaced the boots. When Clark went on the disabledlist with a hyperextended elbow in June of '86, he walked into the clubhouseand found that Leonard had stuffed all his bats in a trash can. "You won'tbe needing those for a while," Leonard told him.

The animositytook an ugly turn in Clark's second season. On a road trip to Philadelphia, heand Leonard got into a scuffle that ended up on the clubhouse floor. Clarkwon't discuss the incident, but one source who was in a position to know saysthat Leonard's young nephew had asked Clark for his autograph, and Clark hadmade a racial slur and told him to get out of his way. When Leonard heard aboutthe episode and confronted Clark the next day, the two men went at it untilteammates broke them apart.

Another time,Clark used a racial epithet in an argument with teammate Chris Brown, anincident for which he apologized to the entire team. "The thing with ChrisBrown was done without thinking," says Craig. "Chris accepted hisapology. Will has a very high level of intensity, and doesn't realize he'sdoing those things."

Both incidentswere recalled during last year's World Series, when Clark had the poor judgmentto refer to Leonard, by this time playing for Seattle, as "a tumor."Leonard responded by calling Clark "a prejudiced——."

At the veryleast, Clark certainly is thoughtless about the use of racially offensivewords. But Clark vehemently denies being a bigot. "Some of my best friendsare black," he says. "That has nothing to do with it."

"We get alonglike two brothers," Mitchell says in Clark's defense. "If he's aracist, he's sure putting up a good front. He treats me like family."

The truth of thematter is, Clark often doesn't think before he speaks, and around a ballpark heis wound so tightly that he is apt to say or do almost anything. After theGiants clinched the National League West title in 1987, a live television feedwas hooked up in the Giants locker room, and a reporter asked Clark theobligatory question of how the win felt.

What followed wasan expletive that was broadcast loud and clear. The damage done, Clark added,with an amusing lack of perspective, "I've been waiting a long time forthis."

His mother andfather were watching back home in New Orleans. "Letty died," Billrecalls. "She just died. 'Bill, he didn't say that, did he?' she asked.'Tell me he didn't.' You can only learn from your mistakes, or someone else's.He was young. We talked with him after the season, and asked him to try to do alittle better job with the press."

The Giants, too,talked to him. The seats behind the Giants dugout had become R-rated because ofthe invective that sometimes poured from Clark's lips after an at bat."Will wears his feelings on his sleeve," says Rosen. "He's a highlycompetitive person who resents making an out, and sometimes his expletives havebeen heard in the stands. So we've asked him to wait till he's off the field toget what's bothering him off his chest."

One Giantsseason-ticket holder remembers an incident, in early 1988, that—among this fanand his friends, anyway—could have earned Clark yet another moniker: Will thePill. Clark was standing alone in front of the Giants dugout after a game, andan eight-year-old kid asked him for an autograph. Clark didn't answer, and thechild made the mistake of tossing Clark a ball to sign. Clark, who had hit intoa double play and made an error during the game, let the ball fall at his feet,then kicked it the length of the dugout. Next he walked over, picked the ballup and threw it onto the field. Then he walked into the clubhouse. A televisioncameraman had to retrieve the ball for the youngster.

To Clark,baseball is serious business. He doesn't think of himself as an entertainer, orof the game as entertainment. It is a test of skill. And since he believes heis better than any pitcher alive, the only thing that can possibly keep Clarkfrom achieving success is a loss of concentration. Says Rosen, "When he'sat the plate, the stands could fall down around him and he wouldn'tnotice."

Sometimes that'strue when he's not at the plate. Sometimes it happens when he's around ordinarypeople. Kids even.

Clark is tryingto improve his image. "I've worked on taking my game face off quicker,"he says. "I need to come down off that adrenaline rush."

But it is nothingthat he or the Giants are particularly concerned about. After all, people usedto consider Ted Williams abrasive, and he didn't turn out too badly. The bottomline on Clark is that he is a baseball player, not a candidate for role modelof the month.

Clark remembers astrange incident that occurred in September, when the Giants made their lastroad trip into Atlanta. Walking down the runway between the dugout and theclubhouse shortly before the game, he heard thwump! thwump! thwump! coming fromsomewhere beneath the stands. When he went to investigate, he found a group ofBraves players shooting arrows at a paper target of a deer tacked to a stack ofhay bales. Clark watched in amazement, then left. "I couldn't play baseballlike that," he says. "On a cellar-dwelling team, I know my productionwould go down."

He has neverplayed for a team that finished the season with a losing record. This string ofsuccesses goes back to 1980, when Clark was the only starting sophomore forJesuit High when the school won the state title. He also led his team to theAmerican Legion World Series that summer. More recently, he has starred in theOlympics (the '84 team won a silver medal), the College World Series(Mississippi State finished in a tie for third in '85), two National LeagueChampionship Series (the Giants lost to the Cards in '87 and beat the Cubs in'89) and the World Series last fall.

This season maybe another matter, though. The Giants' patchwork pitching staff has falteredbadly, and as of Sunday the team was 15-22, despite winning four of their lastsix games. Worse still, the Giants are already 11½ games behind thedivision-leading Cincinnati Reds. But Clark remains un-fazed. He continues toapproach the game with the same manic intensity and, so far, his numbers arcrespectable: a .291 average, six home runs and a team-high 29 RBIs.

"The gamedoesn't change," he says. "The pressure stays the same from the LittleLeague to the majors. What does change is the outside elements, all the thingsthat can make you lose focus—the money, the press, the fans. So I tell myself,'Don't try to impress the people in the stands. Do it for theself-satisfaction.' It sounds greedy, but it relaxes you."

Clark does have afew personal goals. He would like to get 200 hits, which, as far as he'sconcerned, sets the standard for consistency. He fell four hits short lastyear. He would like to win a batting title. Tony Gwynn edged him by threepoints last year—.336 to .333—in a race that came down to the last day of theseason. He would like, for that matter, to be the first player since CarlYastrzemski to win a triple crown. Says Clark, "In '87, I proved I couldhit the long ball [35 homers]; in '88, I proved I could drive in runs [109];and in '89, I proved I could hit for average. Now I want to put them alltogether. I'm a perfectionist. I'm a worker. If there's a duck I want to hunt,it ain't nothing for me to paddle a couple of miles to hunt him. Same withbaseball."

Same withemotions. Clark's still learning to paddle through that swamp. Now all he hasto prove is that he can control his intensity so that it will serve him,instead of possess him.

PHOTOV.J. LOVEROPHOTOHEINZ KLUTMEIERAT THREE (TOP) OR IN COLLEGE, CLARK HAD THE LOOK OF A WINNERPHOTO[See caption above.]PHOTOV.J. LOVEROAT THE PLATE, CLARK'S 20/12 VISION, TOTAL FOCUS AND SWEET SWING ARE A PITCHER'S NIGHTMAREPHOTOJACQUELINE DUVOISINCLARK WAS "A MASHER" ON THE '84 U.S. OLYMPIC TEAMPHOTOV.J. LOVEROWILL AND SCOTTY HAVE GOOD FUN HUNTING ON THE BAYOUPHOTODAVID WALBERGBILLS ABILITY WITH A CUE PUT HIM THROUGH COLLEGEPHOTOV.J. LOVEROCLARK GOES TO THE TAPE TO WATCH ALL OF HIS AT BATSPHOTOV.J. LOVEROBASEBALL OR SKEET, IT'S ALL TARGET PRACTICE FOR CLARK