I was looking through some things and just realized that I forgot to enter a blog post for a big trade I made last month! One of the real fun parts of working on Project87 these past few months has been connecting with a community of people who are also collecting '87 Topps autographs. Through Twitter, I've "met" a bunch of people who are further along than I am and some who are just getting started. It would seem that none of them is pursuing this goal with quite the tenacity that Ryan Schear is. Ryan lives in Arizona and (like me) just started going after 87s this year. Unlike me though, he has already accumulated 450 of them!
As sort of a "project within a project," I'd especially like to get all of the Cardinals cards signed in the set. When Ryan heard this, he mentioned that he had duplicates of Jack Clark, and asked if I had any that I'd be willing to trade. I looked through my old cards I had gotten signed at games back in the 80s and found two that I had "doubles" of that he needed: Tom Hume and Luis Aguayo. He said he'd include another of his extras (Ken Schrom) and we had a deal! We sent each other the cards through the mail and in a couple days the trade was completed.
Clark was the one big bat in the Cardinals' pennant-winning lineups of 1985 & 1987. In '85, he only hit 22 home runs, but Andy Van Slyke was the only other player on that team with more than 10, and he only had 13! In 1987, Clark was the most dominant offensive player in the National League with a 1.055 OPS. Unfortunately, with 24 games remaining in the season he injured his ankle and was unable to start another game. Cardinal fans were left to wonder how things might have been different if only they'd had "The Ripper's" big bat for the World Series, which they would lose to Minnesota in seven games.
What Clark is best remembered for though is the two-out, ninth inning blast he hit off Tom Niedenfuer in Game 6 of the NLCS to send the Cardinals to the World Series. The image of (future Cardinal) Pedro Guerrero slamming his glove to the ground and Clark's tortoise-like trip around the bases will forever be cemented in the minds of fans of the 1980s Cardinals!