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Clark chilling out after baseball
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07/10/2004 8:04 PM ET
Clark chilling out after baseball
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Will Clark (left) offers some pointers to Albert Pujols, during Spring Training. (James A. Finley/AP)
HOUSTON -- Will "The Thrill" Clark has been out of baseball for four years now, but what he misses most is the camaraderie of the clubhouse.

"I miss mixing it up with guys," said Clark as he signed autographs on Saturday for a conga line of hundreds at the annual FanFest. "Once you hit enough balls, you get enough of it after awhile. I don't miss the traveling one bit. I miss the guys more than anything."

Clark could mix it up in the clubhouse with the best of them, whether it was in San Francisco with the Giants, Texas with the Rangers, Baltimore with the Orioles or St. Louis with the Cardinals, where he played in his final 51 games.

Clark was always chirping, his shrill voice piercing the quietude.

"I liked to keep things interesting," he said with a laugh.

Clark, now 40, batted .303 and had 2,176 hits over the course of 15 seasons, the first eight in San Francisco. He'll be remembered most as a Giant for smacking the hit off the Cubs' Mitch Williams that won the 1989 National League Championship Series in five games, thus sending San Francisco back into the World Series for the first time since 1962. The Giants were swept in the earthquake-torn World Series by the rival A's.

Clark batted a scalding .650 (13-for-20) in that NLCS with two homers and eight RBIs to win the MVP. The performance came on the heels of Clark losing the batting title on the final day of the 1989 season to the Padres' Tony Gwynn in head-to-head action between the two teams at San Diego. Gwynn, who won eight batting titles, hit .336 to Clark's career-high .333. Clark never again came close to snaring a batting title.

"That was one of the high points," Clark said about the playoff single in the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 5 at Candlestick Park that sent the Giants on to a 3-2 win. "The other was opening my career against Nolan Ryan."

The lefty-swinging Clark homered off the future Hall-of-Fame Ryan at the Astrodome in his first career plate appearance.

Clark, a six-time All-Star first baseman, said he spends his time now hunting, fishing, playing a little celebrity golf "and spending as much time with my family as I can."

He and wife of 10 years, Lisa, live in Clark's hometown of New Orleans. They have a son Trey, 8, and a daughter, Ella, 2. Lisa is a stay-at-home mom and the kids are a handful, Clark said.

"I've lived my whole life in New Orleans," Clark said. "I had to get back home. There are too many relatives and built in baby sitters."

Clark did spend this past Spring Training working with the Cardinals to help Albert Pujols adapt and improve at first base. But Clark said he's not ready yet to coach full-time. He's too happy staying near home.

"I just love doing family things," Clark said. "(Sunday) Lisa is coming up with the kids and we're going to do the whole FanFest thing."

Call him Will "The Chill" now instead.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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