The SF Giants previously confirmed that they would retire Will Clark's No. 22 during the 2020 season. Nature had a different plan in mind as the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into any and all plans. However, the Giants announced that they would retire Clark's number on July 30, 2022, before a game against the Chicago Cubs.
SF Giants set the date for retiring Will Clark's No. 22
Clark helped to turn around the organization in the late 1980's after several lean and uninspiring years earlier in the decade. The Giants originally drafted the left-handed slugger with the second overall pick in the 1985 draft out of Mississippi State University.
The longtime Giants first baseman wasted no time in introducing himself to major league pitching as he debuted a year later and launched a home run off of future Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan in his first official at-bat.
That was a sign of things to come for him and the organization. The Giants reached the postseason for the first time in years in 1987 with Clark being a catalyst in the lineup as he posted a .951 OPS with 29 home runs and 109 RBI while earning a NL All-Star bid and finishing in fifth place in the MVP vote.
By 1989, the turnaround was complete as the Giants reached the World Series for the first time in over two decades. Sadly, they lost that series to the Oakland Athletics in a four-game sweep, but they would not have been there without Clark's production.
Across eight seasons with the Orange and Black, the left-handed bat slashed .299/.373/.499 (145 OPS+) with five All-Star selections and finishing in the top-five in the MVP vote four times. It was an impressive run that has rarely been replicated in a franchise that began in the1883.
In a tough blow to the fanbase, Clark departed via free agency after the 1993 season to sign with the Texas Rangers. He spent five years with Texas, then parts of two seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, and finished out his career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2000.
Despite the impressive numbers he put up, Clark fell off of the Hall of Fame ballot after just one cycle in which he failed to appear on at least five percent of the ballots. Interestingly, longtime Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton seems destined for Cooperstown, and their cases are not too dissimilar. That is another topic for a different day.
It is a bit ironic and humorous that the Giants planned his retirement ceremony with the Cubs in town. In an at-bat against Chicago in the 1989 NLCS, Clark read Greg Maddux's lips, calling for a fastball during a mound visit. On the very next pitch, the slugging first baseman unloaded on Maddux's offering:
Since then, pitchers have covered their mouth when talking with the catcher during mound visits. Perhaps, Clark's time in a Giants uniform was shorter than many fans would have liked, but his impact continues to this day as he serves as a community ambassador for the organization. His legacy will forever be cemented as no player will don No. 22 ever again.