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WILL POWER
E.M. Swift
May 28, 1990
WITH THE GAME ON THE LINE, GIANTS FIRST BASEMAN WILL CLARK IS A FORMIDABLE FIGURE. AND THE GAME DOES NOT HAVE TO BE BASEBALL
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May 28, 1990

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

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He has never played for a team that finished the season with a losing record. This string of successes goes back to 1980, when Clark was the only starting sophomore for Jesuit High when the school won the state title. He also led his team to the American Legion World Series that summer. More recently, he has starred in the Olympics (the '84 team won a silver medal), the College World Series ( Mississippi State finished in a tie for third in '85), two National League Championship Series (the Giants lost to the Cards in '87 and beat the Cubs in '89) and the World Series last fall.

This season may be another matter, though. The Giants' patchwork pitching staff has faltered badly, and as of Sunday the team was 15-22, despite winning four of their last six games. Worse still, the Giants are already 11� games behind the division-leading Cincinnati Reds. But Clark remains un-fazed. He continues to approach the game with the same manic intensity and, so far, his numbers arc respectable: a .291 average, six home runs and a team-high 29 RBIs.

"The game doesn't change," he says. "The pressure stays the same from the Little League to the majors. What does change is the outside elements, all the things that 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 the self-satisfaction.' It sounds greedy, but it relaxes you."

Clark does have a few personal goals. He would like to get 200 hits, which, as far as he's concerned, sets the standard for consistency. He fell four hits short last year. He would like to win a batting title. Tony Gwynn edged him by three points last year—.336 to .333—in a race that came down to the last day of the season. He would like, for that matter, to be the first player since Carl Yastrzemski to win a triple crown. Says Clark, "In '87, I proved I could hit 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 all together. 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 with baseball."

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

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