SI Vault
The 18-Car Barrage
Leigh Montville
August 24, 1992
Jack Clark's most-astounding stat is his list of autos, which contributed to his bankruptcy
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August 24, 1992

The 18-car Barrage

Jack Clark's most-astounding stat is his list of autos, which contributed to his bankruptcy

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11. 1991 GM Syclone pickup ($26,120).

12. 1932 Ford Coupe hot rod ($65,000).

13. 1955 Ford Crown Victoria ($42,000).

14. 1955 Ford Thunderbird ($80,000).

15. 1957 Lincoln Premiere convertible ($63,000). I would like to be sympathetic to Clark's plight. He always has seemed to be a decent man, though strangely paralyzed in recent years by the sight of a breaking ball on a two-strike count. I can understand the $55,955 outstanding bill with American Express and the $19,820 Visa bill and the $37,000 bill with Nordstrom department store and certainly the $400,000 owed in taxes. We all push the far edge of the financial envelope sometimes. Just last week I bought a necktie that I knew I could not afford. Jack Clark makes $3 million a year, so I also can understand the big house on the golf course in California and the $1 million investment in a drag racing team. A man needs a home and a hobby. Maybe a couple of hobbies. Fair enough. I do not understand the 18 cars.

16. 1957 Lincoln Coupe ($39,000). I suppose they were investments. I know Reggie Jackson, the retired slugger, buys cars and sells cars as if they were motorized baseball cards, presumably making money in a collectors' market. I suppose, as Clark claims, the gulf war and the general recession might have affected that market. I still...18 cars? The figure suddenly has made all of the other figures jump from the sports page again.

17. 1957 Plymouth Fury ($36,000). When some athlete asks to have his contract renegotiated because "I have to do what's best for my family," is he saying that his family is being forced to survive on a mere 15 or 16 sets of wheels? When he says that he wants to be "set for life," does he mean that he needs enough money for an infinite number of spark plugs, a ceaseless rotation of fat-boy tires? Are we ever going to be able to take any of these bleats and whines at contract time seriously again?

18. 1934 Ford Sedan ($30,000). Ralph Kiner, another free swinger, long ago proclaimed, "Home run hitters drive Cadillacs." I wonder why none of us asked him how many Cadillacs he meant.

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