The Giants have kept some numbers on the “unofficially retired” list over the years and have tried to quietly nudge players away from wearing certain ones, but on Sunday they made it official for one of the most important players in franchise history.
Beginning next season, no Giants player will ever wear Will Clark’s No. 22 again.
The announcement was made Sunday as the Giants honored the 1989 team that went to the World Series in large part because of Clark’s contributions. A Giant for eight years, Clark was a five-time All-Star and finished in the top five in MVP voting four times.
He was the star of the late 80’s clubs and a player who helped a new generation fall in love with the Giants. In recent years, Clark has been a special advisor for the club and a regular at Oracle Park. He has always been open about what the honor would mean to him.
“I wanted to stay a Giant my whole life,” Clark told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Amy G recently. “That’s why I came back to the Giants. Let’s just say that the talks have been starting, and hopefully it gets done. And with your help, fans, if you’d like to partake and put a little pressure on the Giants, I would love it, thank you. If No. 22 ever winds up there, it’d be really, really special.”
The Giants previously retired 10 players’ numbers, with Barry Bonds’ No. 25 going up on the wall last year. Bonds is not in the Hall of Fame, and Clark said that helped his cause.
“The Giants have always had a policy where the numbers that were retired were Hall of Famers,” he said. “And then that changed last year when Barry got his number retired. He is not a Hall of Famer, so it opened a door.”
Bonds’ number had unofficially been taken out of commission, along with Tim Lincecum’s No. 55. But 22 has been worn by 22 other players since Clark’s time in San Francisco ended.
The list includes some veterans like Jake Peavy, Andrew McCutchen and Mike Matheny, but also plenty of more random Giants, like Keiichi Yabu, Ryan Rohlinger and Dan Uggla. McCutchen was the last to wear it, with top prospect Christian Arroyo getting it the year before that. When Arroyo was called up, he said he had talked to Clark, who had helped him in the minors, about taking his number.
“He told me that I could have it because there are hits in it,” he said.
There were more than 1,200 of them for Clark as a Giant, but that line won’t hold up anymore. The No. 22 will now forever belong to Clark.
This post was originally posted at http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Giants-Retire-Will-Clark-No-22-Jersey-Next-Season-535764751.html.