Just more than two weeks after former MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner lost his 15-month battle with brain cancer, the MLBPA named former All-Star first baseman Tony Clark to the same position on Tuesday.
MLB Trade Rumors confirmed the news, which had seemed preordained for months. Clark was named the deputy executive director in July, and took over the MLBPA head spot on an interim basis when Weiner passed on Nov. 21.
Clark, 41, played for six teams over his 15 seasons in the majors, retiring following the 2009 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. A switch-hitter, Clark finished his career hitting .262/.339/.485 with 251 home runs and 824 RBI in 1,559 career games.
Known for his power from both sides of the plate, he hit 30 or more home runs in four different seasons, each of which he was at or near the three-win WAR total, per FanGraphs. Clark was named to the 2001 American League All-Star team while with the Detroit Tigers.
Since his playing days ended, Clark has both worked as an analyst for MLB Network and became a more integral force in the players' association. He served as a player representative throughout his career and was an Association Player Representative during the collective bargaining agreement negotiations in 2006.
Before moving into the deputy executive role, Clark was the union's director of player relations. In the MLBPA release from July, Weiner went out of his way to praise Clark, who had quickly become his right-hand man behind the scenes:
Tony's rise within the union will come as no surprise to those who know him. It was clear from the moment Tony joined the MLBPA that his on-field experience and passion for the fraternity of players would make him a tremendous advocate for all who play the game. I look forward to working closely with Tony as together we represent the interests of the players.
Clark said the he was "honored" by the appointment in the same release.
His hiring is a bit unorthodox, as he's the first former MLB player in history to hold the executive director title. Weiner and longtime executive director Donald Fehr were both attorneys, and Marvin Miller, perhaps the most prominent man to hold that position, graduated with a degree in economics.
Clark will now be tasked with doing something his previous two predecessors did well: keeping labor peace. MLB has not had a labor stoppage since the 1994 player strike, the longest such streak in any of the United States' four major sports leagues.
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