Tony Clark inducted into Boys & Girls Clubs HOF
DALLAS – Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark was among seven distinguished community leaders inducted into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America's Alumni Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Wednesday, May 10.
In accepting the honor, Clark told the audience that he maintained a relationship with the Boys & Girls Club and supported it in each city in which he played during his baseball career because the organization had been such a positive influence in his young life.
“You never know who's listening, you never know who you can impact with one word in one time in one place,” Clark said. “Any number of people encouraged me and I'm guessing with the players I represent now that along the way somebody encouraged them, as well.”
Clark, who was a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater San Diego's Encanto Branch, was one of the area's top baseball and basketball standouts in the 1980s. As a high school senior, he averaged 43.7 points per game and broke NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton's San Diego high school single-season scoring record. He went on to play collegiate basketball at the University of Arizona and San Diego State.
Clark ultimately decided to play baseball, however, after the Detroit Tigers selected him second overall in the 1990 draft. Over a 15-year MLB career with six teams, the 6-foot-7 first baseman batted .262 with 251 home runs and 824 RBIs and earned a spot on the American League All-Star team in 2001.
“The Boys & Girls Club in Encanto was where we went,” Clark said. “It changed everything for me, my brothers and our friends.
“Everything we did there, everything we enjoyed there was supported and encouraged. Each of us had dreams and aspirations. So I can't implore you enough to appreciate what an encouraging word does for a young kid who isn't sure what tomorrow looks like or where he or she is going or where he or she may end up. It was that encouragement from the Boys & Girls Club that I kept with me moving forward.”
After his playing career in Major League Baseball, Clark continued in a leadership role, starting as the Director of Player Relations for the MLBPA and becoming the union's executive director following the death of Michael Weiner in 2013.
Joining Clark as inductees into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America's Alumni Hall of Fame "Class of 2017" were: actor Anthony Anderson of the hit show "Blackish"; WWE Executive Vice President Paul "Triple H" Levesque; Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten; Dallas Wings All-Star guard Skylar Diggins; University of Arizona professor of Planetary Science and Cosmochemistry Dante Lauretta, and oncologist Philip Schein.
Today, more than 4,300 clubs serve nearly 4 million young people. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles.