I've always been a fan of Will Clark. As a kid all of these guys seemed like superheroes, but Clark stood out a little more for me and a buddy of mine.
In 1991, my friend and I were 11 years old. Baseball was pretty much all we thought about. My mom had a friend/co-worker (I will just call him Henry), who was as crazy about baseball as we were and he would come and play baseball, coach us bit and even talk baseball cards with us from time to time. He also told us something that had us drooling all over our baseball gloves. He happened to be very good friends with a certain San Francisco Giants player.....no, not The Thrill.
I think 1991 was Bud's first year with the Giants.
One day that spring/summer, Henry came to work and gave my mom a phone number. He said that Bud Black was on a road trip and gave him the number to the hotel that the team was staying at so that we could call and talk to him. This was HUGE. A real major leaguer wanted to talk to us!
So we gathered up our 3 phones, with as much phone cord running through the house as I have ever seen. We were able to extend the downstairs phone to the kitchen, and the upstairs phone to the bottom of the stairs. Life was tough when you didn't have cordless phones! So we used the instructions that Bud gave us to reach him and I doubt me and my buddy took a breath as my mom talked to the front desk attendant.
"Bud Blacks room? Sure, I will connect you" - Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring..... nothing, Damn. Bud wasn't there. Talk about being crushed.
I'm sure my mom was seeing the despair on our faces and I remember her saying "Well, the whole team is at the hotel; Are there any other players on the Giants you guys might want to talk to?" Well, duh. Will Clark, or Kevin Mitchell! Back to the phones...
Front desk lady - "I don't see a Kevin Mitchell....longest pause ever.....but Mr. Clark is, here you go" - Ring, ring, ri...Hello?
Bam! Will Clark! On the phone. With 2 kids from North Dakota! My mom introduced herself and how we ended up calling him. Then she introduced both of us. I don't remember everything that we talked about, but home runs, fastballs, World Series, and earthquakes were some of the big topics. He literally talked to us for 20 full minutes, and with my mom for another 5-10 mins afterwards. She couldn't believe how much time he gave us. Will Clark talked to us like we were long lost buddies, or kids of his own. It was incredible. Today I still find it hard to believe. My best Major League encounter ever, and it was over the phone.
So after the call I decided to try and write him and see if he would autograph a card through the mail for me. I wrote him a letter thanking him for the chat, I'm sure I included a few questions I missed out on asking him, and sent him a baseball card to sign. Waited a couple weeks before I became too anxious, then a month, then 2 months. Oh well, at least we got to talk to him.
Then a couple weeks after I gave up on getting the card back:
No, not the most interesting card in the world, but I'm sure I didn't want to risk losing one of my others or something. Will ended up returning my exact card and hand writing a 2 page letter back to me and my mom. My mom still has the letter.
Sorry for the length of this post. Looks to be a few Will Clark guys here, so hopefully you enjoy my little experience with him.