Will Clark: My Favorite No. 22 On My 22

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IOctober 22, 2008

Growing up as a San Francisco Giants fan and being a first baseman, there is only one person who could be my favorite player.

His name is Will Clark.

It seemed almost too good to be true. He wore No. 22 on his back, my birthday is Oct. 22nd. He was a first baseman and so was I.

Almost destiny if you will.

The man was the prototypical Giant in every sense of the word. He came to the plate like he was about to shove the bat down your throat if you struck him out.

In his first minor league game he homered off of Fernando Valenzuela.

Then is his major league debut, in his very first at-bat, he homered off of Hall of Famer, Nolan Ryan.

Not a bad start, huh?

He was the heart of the team that lost to the Oakland A's in the 1989 World Series. While the Giants didn't win the series, I still loved the way that "The Thrill" played everyday.

But what I loved the most about Clark is that he played the game the right way. He didn't dog it at all. He wore his heart on his sleeve and played for the name on the front, not the one on the back.

He's a throwback in every sense of the word and that is why he is one of the greatest Giants ever.

When he signed with the Texas Rangers in 1994 to play closer to his home in Louisiana, I was heartbroken. Yeah, J.T. Snow came a few years later in a trade with the then California Angels, but this was my boyhood idol leaving the team I loved.

I wasn't at the age to understand why he left, I just knew that he did.

The Giants then tried to replace Clark with names like Desi Wilson, Steve Scarsone, Dave McCarty, and Mark Carreon.

Not exactly Will The Thrill.

When the Giants honored some of their former All-Stars last year on Opening Day, I had no idea who would be showing up. When I saw Clark show up on the screen and heard Giants broadcaster, who was reading off the names, say "No. 22, Will Clark!" I went nuts.

He may have put on a few pounds since he retired, but he still looked like he could smash one over the right field fence.

So, thank you, Will Clark.

You will never get into the MLB Hall of Fame, but you are in the College Baseball Hall of Fame.

No matter what you get inducted into you are certainly in mine.