Former big league first baseman Tony Clark has been appointed to the newly created position of deputy executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, the MLBPA announced today, and he was voted in unanimously.
As Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times notes (on Twitter), Clark is in line to replace current executive director Michael Weiner if his battle with brain cancer becomes too difficult to allow him to work. Within the MLBPA's press release, Weiner issued a statement in which he speaks highly of Clark:
“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 called the promotion and the opportunity to work more directly with Weiner an honor in a statement of his own:
“I am honored by this appointment and consider it a privilege to be in a position to work more closely with Michael Weiner. I also look forward to continue working with all our members and the entire Union staff, and together we will maintain our standing as one of the best labor organizations in the country.”
The 41-year-old Clark spent parts of 15 seasons in the Major Leagues after being drafted by the Tigers second overall (behind Chipper Jones) in the 1990 draft. From 1995-2009, Clark batted .262/.339/.485 in 5120 plate appearances, belting 251 homers along the way. Most of his career was spent with the Tigers, but he also spent five years with the D-Backs and had brief stints with the Mets, Yankees, Padres and Red Sox.
Current MLBPA Association Representatives Curtis Granderson and Jeremy Guthrie each spoke very highly of Clark and the work he's done to date with the Players Union. Clark was involved in the negotiation of the 2002 and 2006 collective bargaining agreements and also played a role in negotiating baseball's Joint Drug Agreement.