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The 10 most under-appreciated players of the 1990s: #9 Dave Clark

Posted by Andy
Can a rookie prospect be under-appreciated?

Dave Clark is shown here on his 1988 Score card, #633. This was Score's inaugural set and it was great (as were their 1989 and 1990 sets.) This set was one of the first, if not the first, to include two full color photos, one on each side. If you'd like to smile right now, scroll down to look at the photo on the back of the card.

Score did a great job by including the head shot on the back, as it let them use action shots on the front even if the player's face wasn't all that visible. They also didn't need to crop closely to make the player's head larger and easier to see. I noted these advantages with this set when I posted Bill Doran's 1988 Score card last week.

Anyway, back to Clark. He had a reasonably high profile as a player thanks to coming in as a prospect. Many felt he disappointed, but I say he was under-appreciated.
From 1993 to 1996, there are just 3 players to post at least 3 seasons with an OPS+ of 110 but at most 320 plate appearances:

Rk Yrs From To Age
1 Darryl Strawberry 3 1994 1996 32-34 Ind. Seasons
2 Dave Clark 3 1993 1996 30-33 Ind. Seasons
3 Jeromy Burnitz 3 1993 1996 24-27 Ind. Seasons
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/16/2012.

Strawberry was injured and bouncing from team to team, ultimately helping the Yankees win the World Series in 1996. Burnitz was just starting out his career. Dave Clark, meanwhile, was banished to the Pirates as they began their downward spiral after 3 straight playoff appearances. He then went to the Dodgers and Cubs but put up some good production in limited playing time.

In fact, over 1993 and 1994, Clark had exactly 500 at-bats with 46 RBI each year (92 total.) Only 51 players had at least 200 plate appearances total in those 2 seasons and 0.18 RBI per at-bat. These guys were the most efficient RBI guys of the era and Clark is on the list.

According to the text on the back of the card, Clark is one of 15 children!

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