Clark, the newly named Executive Director of the Major
League Baseball Players Association, answers questions
during a news conference at the organizations' annual
meeting Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, in San Diego. Clark, who
replaced the late Michael Weiner, is flanked by executive
board member Jeremy Guthrie.
SAN DIEGO —
Tony Clark said he's "blown away" that he is the first
former major leaguer to become head of the baseball players'
board of the Major League Baseball Players Association voted
unanimously Tuesday to appoint Clark to replace Michael Weiner,
who died Nov. 21 of brain cancer. The decision is pending a vote
of the general membership.
Clark was an
All-Star in 2001 and played for 15 seasons with Detroit, Arizona,
the New York Mets, New York Yankees, Boston and San Diego. The
41-year-old was appointed deputy executive director in July and
had been acting executive director since Weiner's death.
board is meeting this week at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San
Diego. Clark went to high school in the San Diego area and played
basketball at San Diego State.
during the 2009 season, Clark had opportunities in broadcasting
Instead, he said
he woke up one day and told his wife that he should work for the
players' union, "having no idea that we would be sitting
before you, Dec. 3, 2013, in this capacity, but appreciating all
the while that Michael's vision for our organization, my
involvement with it, and the hope and having and making a
difference for our group, active and inactive and those that are
coming next, was the final decision-maker for me."
Clark spoke on a
conference call and then to a handful of San Diego reporters.
Clark joined the
MLBPA staff in March 2010 as director of player relations.
He got active in
union affairs after attending his first executive board meeting in
1999. From there he became a team player representative, before
spending his last seven seasons as an association representative.
As a player, Clark was actively involved in 2002 and 2006
collective bargaining as well as negotiations on revisions to the
Joint Drug Agreement.
to be tied to the hip with Michael for 20 years," Clark said.
"He rides off into the sunset, I ride off into the sunset, we
ride off into the sunset, having, Lord willing, affected the game
positively. Blown away, yes. Humbled, yes. Excited to carry on the
vision that Michael put into place, yes. ... Focused, not just now
but going forward on what we stand for, who we are and how we've
arrived at the place we've arrived? Blown away, yes."
Jeremy Guthrie of
the Kansas City Royals and free agent outfielder Curtis Granderson
spoke glowingly of Clark.
out that Weiner had been groomed before he took over for Donald
Fehr in 2009, and Clark was groomed to replace Weiner,
"although the time came way too fast, much more fast than any
of us hoped or expected." Guthrie said he met with Weiner in
2012 after the cancer has been diagnosed, and the two agreed that
Clark appeared to be the best candidate to eventually succeed
the intuition, the foresight, whatever it was, to bring Tony on
board when he did and to have him at his side," Guthrie said.
"Tony clearly rose to the top as someone that we'd never
necessarily had planned to see in this position, but when we
needed to find someone, his candidacy was clear, that he was
someone prepared to do this.
this is a unique time," Guthrie said. "Baseball changes
a ton and our union continues to progress and now we have a former
player on board. I don't think there's a better player that's ever
been a part of this game, one as prepared, one as intelligent, one
as powerful, one as knowledgeable, as Tony, to step in and do
that. It's funny how things happen, but preparation has been on
that when the 6-foot-8 Clark walked into a meeting Monday, he
didn't have to say a word and the other players stopped talking
and took their seats.
"That was an
additional confirming moment for me as far as this person
demanding attention," Granderson said. "The information
he's going to provide is going to be of importance, no matter when
he's speaking or what he's speaking about.
"The idea of
him being a player, you never forget that as part of his resume,
but that's not all he is," Granderson added. "For some
reason people have coupled him to that category, but he is by far
more than that and will continue to be more than that. That's just
a chapter in his background. This is a new chapter and there will
be many new chapters."