Lafayette Drillers Flashback: Jack Clark
The Lafayette Drillers, a Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, called Lafayette, Louisiana their home for two years, from 1975-1976.
The Drillers, who played their home games at Clark Field, were co-champions of the Texas League in 1975 with the Midland Cubs, finishing 72-57, before going 58-76 in 1976, the last year of affiliated professional baseball in Lafayette.
A number of outstanding players, who eventually made it into Major League Baseball ranks played at Clark Field in 1975 & 1976, including five former Lafayette Driller players.
All summer long, we’re taking a look back at some of the former players for the Drillers.
Today, Jack Clark:
Clark played third base with the Drillers in 1975, but he was known more for his bat than his glove, as his 56 errors errors will show.
Clark hit a .303, with 23 home runs, and 77 RBI’s for Lafayette in 1975, as a 19-year old teenager, before being called up, and getting a handful of at-bats for the San Francisco Giants in September of the year.
Wisely, the Giants organization moved him the outfield his next year in AAA, and following the All-Star break in 1976, Clark was in Major League Baseball to stay.
Clark went on to have an 18-year MLB career, including ten years with the Giants (1975-1984), three years with the St. Louis Cardinals (1985-1987), two years each with the Boston Red Sox (1991-1992) and San Diego Padres (1989-1990), and one year with the New York Yankees (1988).
The Covina, California native hit a .267 in his MLB career, with 340 home runs, 1,180 RBI’s, and 77 stolen bases, while being named to All-Star team in 1978, 1979, 1985, and 1987.
His best season was in 1987, with the Cardinals, when he finished third in the Most Valuable Player voting, after hitting a .286, with 35 home runs, and 106 RBI’s.
Following his playing career, Clark spent time as a minor league manager, and was also the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In 1975, his one year with the Drillers, Clark hit a .303, with 23 home runs, 77 runs batted in, 94 runs scored, and nine stolen bases, to go along with 141 hits, 25 doubles, a .385 on-base percentage, and a .513 slugging percentage.
Clark led the 1975 Drillers in hits, runs scored, and doubles, while finishing tied for the club lead in homers with Gary Alexander with 23. He also finished second in RBI’s and slugging percentage.
As impressive as those stats were, his walk-to-strikeout ratio may have been the most eye-popping one. A power hitter, Clark walked 65 times in 1975, while striking out only 59 times.
The Drillers finished third in home runs in the Texas League in 1975, with 88, behind the Shreveport Captains (113) and the El Paso Diablos (94), and Clark was a big reason why.