Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Dandy Dozen - Rich Clarke
The Resume: Rick Clarke has been in the league since it's inception. In those 12 seasons, he's never failed to hit 30 HRs or drive in 100 runs. His career line includes a .300 batting average, 503 HR's, 1383 runs scored, and 1643 RBIs. He's a 6-time SS silver slugger, a 2-time gold glove 3B, and a 7-time All-star (including an All-Star MVP in season 11). Only 5 players have made more all-star teams; only 4 have won more Silver Sluggers; and only 3 have won more Gold Gloves.
He holds Baltimore Dead Homies (formerly WIC) franchise records for career: GP, AB, H, 2B, and RBI. League-wide, he's 3rd all-time in career RBI, and holds career records for games played, hits, and at bats.
His teams have made the playoffs in 10 of his 12 seasons (1, 2, 3, 5, 7 with Wichita, 8-9 with Mexico City, and 10-12 with Richmond). He recently signed with Sioux Falls hoping to raise this number. For his career, he's hit .283 with 29 HR's, 70 runs scored, and 80 RBI's in the playoffs (427 ABs). Interestingly, he's 5-5 on playoff SB attempts despite just a 61-137 career regular season stealing history.
In his 10 playoff trips, his teams have gone 12-10 in playoff series. In season 7, his Shocker squad lost a wild-card round game. He forced a trade to Mexico City during season 8. After losing the World Series to Richmond as a Bandejo in season 9, Clarke left via free agency and joined Richmond. The 'Feds reached the World Series (the 3rd of Clarke's career) only to lose Sioux Falls. Two season later, again a free agent, the ultra-competitive Clarke has joined the Dakota in a last-ditch attempt to add a World Series ring to his achievements.
The Rest of the Story: Clarke's up-bringing and identity have always been shrouded in mystery. He lists Washington, D.C. as his home-town but no local high school claims him as an alumnus. The Wichita Shocker scout that discovered and signed him, mysteriously disappeared mid-way through season 2. He was later found dead along the Mexican border though the Bandejo organization acknowledges no involvement.
Various internet reports have speculated that Richard A. Clarke is his father. Clarke himself has never called himself a Jr., but does insist that his middle name is Anonymous. The elder Clarke is a long-time government official, whose past roles include chief-counter-terroism adviser on the National Security Council under Bill Clinton.
When WCM reporter Scoop Raisin approached the younger Clarke about his lineage, he woke up two days later. The following day, he quit as his job as a WCM columnist "to pursue other interests." He never did explain the lump on his forehead.