Category Archives: Will Clark Project
I have had The Colla Collection Will Clark Limited Edition Set on my radar for some time and decided it was time to add it to my collection. I found this set on eBay for $5.00 and is #’d 14,635 of 15,000.
Sports photographer Barry Colla began printing and selling licensed photo postcards of popular players from 1989 through 1993. Starting in 1990 through 1992 he was also licensed to print 2-1/2 x 3-1/2 sized trading cards featuring high-gloss borderless photos on a basic front. The back featured stats, career notes, personal data and team logos.
The 12-card sets were sold in small decorative cardboard boxes (pictured on the left). In 1990, there were 15,000 Will Clark Limited Edition sets produced along with three other sets that I know of, Jose Canseco (20,000 sets), Kevin Maas (7,500 sets), and Don Mattingly (15,000 sets). He also printed All Star team boxed sets of 24 cards in 1992 and 1993.
Check out the 12-card set below:
The backs are white but some for some reason a few of them came out looking gray on my scans.
I have quite a few Will Clark cards to sort out and I am hoping to finally get my collection organized. What better way to move the project along then post about it. So I will start with my Will Clark cards from 1986 and a little on how he performed in his first year.
Will Clark made his Major League debut on April 8, 1986 with the San Francisco Giants on the road against the Houston Astros. In his first at-bat off the legendary Nolan Ryan, he hit a solo home run (see video below). At the time he was the 53rd player in history to achieve that feat. Clark played in 111 games during his rookie season, batting .287 with 11 home runs and 41 runs batted in. He finished 5th in the National League Rookie of the Year voting behind Todd Worrell (St. Louis), Robby Thompson (San Francisco), Kevin Mitchell (New York), and Charlie Kerfield (Houston) and just ahead of Barry Bonds (Pittsburgh). The San Francisco Giants finished third in the National League West with a 83-79 record (52-47 in games he started and 57-54 in games he appeared in).
1986 WILL CLARK CARDS
1984-1989 O’Connell and Son Ink #208 (Need for my collection)
There is some question as to what year the 1984-1989 O’Connell and Son Ink #208 Will Clark was actually produced. It is part of a 244 card set put out by artist T.S. O’Connell in the 1980’s. I read that he produced about one series a year starting in 1984 and the Will Clark was part of Series #7 which would put it in 1991. If anybody out there could clear up this confusion that would be great!
Topps Replica 1984 USA Baseball Olympic Team Promo Card
Despite batting .393 with 13 home runs and 35 runs batted in for the U.S.A. Olympic baseball team in 1984 he was not included in the 1985 Topps set with other Olympic standouts like Oddibe McDowell, Mark McGwire, and Cory Snyder.
1986 Broders #37 (Need for my collection)
1986 Donruss Highlights #1
1986 Donruss The Rookies #32 (XRC)
1986 Fleer Baseball’s Best Sluggers vs. Pitchers #6 of 44
1986 Fleer Update #U-25 (XRC)
1986 Mother’s Cookies San Francisco Giants #7 of 28
1986 Sportflics Rookies #6
1986 Topps Traded #24T (XRC)
1986 Topps Traded – Tiffany #24T (Need for my collection)
If you have any of the missing cards I have listed above I would love to hear from you – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 1986 Donruss The Rookies set was a 56-card set that focused on players who made their Major League debuts during the 1986 season. The design was similar to the 1986 Donruss base set except for the placement of “The Rookies” logo in lower left hand corner and a bluish green border.
Will Clark is card #32 in the set, which also featured other key XRCs (eXtended Rookie Card) such as Wally Joyner (#1), Barry Bonds (#11), Bobby Bonilla (#30), Bo Jackson (#38), and John Kruk (#42).
Career Highlights (from the back of the card) – Made the jump all the way from Class A ball to the big leagues in 1 season…Won the Giants’ first base job in spring training ’86, batting .297 with 5 HR and 16 RBI in 20 games…Named winner of the Golden Spike Award as best collegiate baseball player in the country in ’85 after batting .420 with 25 HR and 77 RBI in 65 games for Mississippi St…Homered on his first swing as a professional, 6/21/85 for Fresno vs. Visalia…NCAA All America in ’84 as well, batting .386 with 28 HR and 93 RBI in 61 games for Miss. St…Hit .393 with 13 HR and 35 RBI in 35 games for U.S. Olympic team in ’84.
Every so often I will highlight a Will Clark card from my collection. It will usually be a card that I just received or bought but will also highlight some of the cards I already own. I have had this card in my collection since around 1987, almost 30 years.
From the back of the card – The San Francisco Giants had great expectations for Will Clark when the 1986 season began. They had after all, selected the strapping 6-1, 185-pound lefty-hitting first baseman No. 1 in the June ’85 free agent draft. Clark, an All America selection at Mississippi St. where he hit .420 with 25 homers and 77 RBI in 65 games in ’85, spent just 65 games with the Giants’ Class A Fresno farm before convincing the brass he was ready for the big time. After a productive spring training in which he hit .297 with 5 homers and 16 RBI in 2 games, Clark was in the Giants’ opening day lineup against the Houston Astros, April 8. On his first at-bat against Houston’s legendary fireballer Nolan Ryan, Clark hit a home run and the Giants went on to win 8-3. Clark thus became only the 53rd player in history to hit a homer in his first big league at-bat.
ABOUT THE SET (www.baseballcardpedia.com) – 1986 Donruss Highlights is a 56-card set released late in 1986. Like the previous year’s set, Highlights commemorates the events of the 1986 MLB season, as well as players and pitchers of the month from each league. The set was distributed in its own red, white, blue, and gold box along with a small Hank Aaron puzzle. The design is identical to that of the 1986 Donruss set except that the borders are in gold instead of blue, and the fronts of each card has a glossy coating. Some cards exist that have the word Highlights written in white instead of yellow. No further information about these white-letter variations is available at this time, however, they appear to be rare.
One of the bigger snubs from the 1985 Topps Olympic Baseball team was Will Clark (read on to see who the other snubs were). The Clark card pictured on the left is a USA Olympic Sponsor Card according to the back. Not sure who produced them or when they were produced, I came across this one on eBay and purchased it for relatively cheap. If anybody knows more about these cards it I would love to hear about it.
In the hectic exhibition schedule (35 games in 33 cities in 39 days) leading up to the 1984 Olympic Games, Clark batted .393 with 13 home runs and 35 runs batted in. During the 5 game pool play and medal rounds, Clark went 9-21 (.429 – led team in average and hits) with 5 runs (tied for team lead), 2 doubles (tied for team lead), 3 home runs (tied for team lead) and 8 runs batted in (led team). He showed up on most of the Olympic offensive leader boards, tied for 3rd in runs (5), tied for 2nd in hits (9), tied for 1st in home runs (3) and tied for 2nd in runs batted in (8). The United States went 4-0 in the White Division pool and won their semi-final game 5-2 against Korea. In the final game against Japan, the USA team lost 6-3 with Clark going 0-4.
1985 Topps Olympic Baseball Team Cards
#389 – Rod Dedeaux (Head Coach)
#390 – Sid Akins (P)
#391 – Flavio Alfaro (SS)
#392 – Don August (P)
#393 – Scott Bankhead (P)
#394 – Bob Caffrey (C)
#395 – Mike Dunne (P)
#396 – Gary Green (SS)
#397 – John Hoover (P)
#398 – Shane Mack (LF/RF)
#399 – John Marzano (C)
#400 – Oddibe McDowell (CF)
#401 – Mark McGwire (1B)
#402 – Pat Pacillo (P)
#403 – Cory Snyder (OF)
#404 – Billy Swift (P)
Olympic Baseball Team members who did not receive a 1985 Topps card include Will Clark, Chris Gwynn, Barry Larkin, B.J. Surhoff and Bobby Witt. In the 1985 MLB Amateur Draft the first four players chosen were B.J. Surhoff (Brewers), Will Clark (Giants), Bobby Witt (Rangers) and Barry Larkin (Reds) with Chris Gwynn (Dodgers) drafted at the #10 spot. All five of these players had careers that lasted 10 + years. There were also some notable players cut just prior to the Olympics including Ken Caminiti, Norm Charltom and Greg Swindell.