Best known for his work after playing baseball, Tony Clark spent one year with the New York Mets.
The New York Mets have had their share of amazing first basemen over the years. Consistently, whether winning or losing, the club has employed a first baseman the city could be proud of.
Even in 2003, the team got a somewhat forgotten year out of their main first baseman, Jason Phillips. Phillips slashed .298/.373/.442 in 453 trips to the plate across 119 games. However, because so much went wrong that year, he’s not one of the first basemen we really remember well.
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The same is true for his backup, veteran Tony Clark. Clark arrived to Flushing via free agency following a bad year with the Boston Red Sox. Shortly removed from an All-Star campaign in 2001 as a member of the Detroit Tigers, the briefly prolific slugger from the Motor City looked like he was trending downhill fast.
Those who had their doubts about Clark’s ability to play baseball may have been pleasantly surprised by his part-time performance. In 280 plate appearances, he managed to find 16 home runs.
Still, not all was well in the world of the man best known as the man who would one day help represent the Player’s Union.
Clark brought his home run bat with him to Flushing, but not much else. He slashed .232/.300.472 on the year. The performance, while perhaps better than some believed he could turn in, didn’t do much for his cause. He would stay in New York for one more year after 2003, this time playing for the New York Yankees where he somehow played even worse.
Clark’s time at the top was clearly over. However, he did have one more notable season left in him.
Back in his Detroit days, Clark had three consecutive seasons of smashing 30 home runs. At age 33, now with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2005, he did so one more time.
Clark is a notable member of baseball lore because of what he has done for the game after his playing time. His year with the Mets in 2003 would barely get a mention in any biography about him.
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Nobody expected all that much from Clark during his brief trip through Queens. The performance that year may be best remembered for the fact that the 6’8 slugger wore number 00.