December 14, 2011

Cereal Thrilla

Will Clark, 1989 Topps Cap’n Crunch

The common misconception of Cap’n Crunch is that he only knows about seafaring and things that are crunchy. To those who abide by such thinking, I implore you—don’t put Cap’n Crunch in a box. Because the thing is, Cap’n Crunch knows a lot about other stuff, too, like wine, exotic (land) species, Greek architecture, indie music, and things of that ilk. He is also pretty dang familiar with our country’s national pastime. Truth be told, Cap’n Crunch is the George Will of cereal captains.

Speaking of Wills, how about Will Clark? Many people who enjoy baseball were unfamiliar with Will Clark until Cap’n Crunch featured him on a set of baseball cards in 1989. The Cap’n, Topps, and Clark himself, however, put forth a rather curious concerted collaborative effort to make Clark appear as less a baseball player than a pedophile.

Perhaps as an homage to Cap’n Crunch himself, Clark decided to grow a mustache that I have never before seen on any other of his baseball cards. This is indeed a rare occurrence of Will Clark facial hair, and has in itself raised the value of this card to a whopping .5 Euros. To boot, Topps stripped Clark of the San Francisco Giants symbol often seen on San Francisco Giants hats, so as to abide by Section IV, Rule 34.8 of the Major League Baseball Handbook, which explicitly states: “Any player featured on a breakfast cereal-sponsored piece of cardboard shall represent his current franchise in text only and not via graphic symbols, which may falsely infer that said player is affiliated with said team. Failure to meet this criteria will result in up to eight years in federal prison for all involved parties, cartoon and/or human.” It’s unknown whether Clark, in this particular shot, is on a ball field or in front of an old, rusted, windowless van offering free candy to passersby. All we really know is that he plays first base, or is at least trying to get there.

Belted Home Run with his first swing in pro ball for Fresno vs. Visalia, June 21, 1985.
Belted Home Run with his first swing as big leaguer, at Houston Astrodome, April 8, 1986.

That is interesting—the type of stuff back-of-cards were born to reveal. Equally interesting, although not mentioned here, is that Will’s middle name is “Nuschler,” which is like, “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?” Ha, ha … Nuschler.

What else ya’ got, Wiki?

Playing for Mississippi State University, Clark was noted for his oft-imitated "sweet swing," said to be among the best in baseball … A teammate of Rafael Palmeiro, the two were known as "Thunder and Lightning"

I’m sorry, which one was “Lightening?” The balding, lefty, power-hitting Caucasian or the mustachioed, future-Viagra-spokesman, power-hitting Cuban? Either way, if the thought of those two hitting back-to-back in the same lineup doesn’t evoke comparisons of Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, then I am not good at comparisons.

Clark and Palmeiro have been known to dislike each other and have had heat since their days at Mississippi St.

New comparison: 50 Cent vs. The Game. Everything came to a head when Clark dropped the single, “I Got Heat Witchu,” a not-so-subtle shot at his former teammate that included the line, “You say you play first/Homey you the worst/A bad throw you can’t dig/With your fake a$$ wig.

Unlike Palmeiro, Clark has never been linked to nor accused of steroid use.

“I Still Got Heat Withcu,” released 2005

Handled yourself well at that Congressional hearing/Shoulda brought you up on charges of trying to bite my swing/The Hall of Fame? Pfft, that’s a gas/Let’s go to the cages right now, I’ll Cap’n Crunch that a$$!


Play at the Plate said...

Will Clark is my favorite player. Ever. And that is one of the creepiest cards. Ever.

mkenny59 said...

Indeed, it is. I'm sorry you had to see this, but, ya' know ... I have a job to do. Keeps me up at night, sometimes.

Sean said...

I love that stache, I never knew Clark ever had one.

That pic reminds me a bit of Matt Dillon`s character in There`s Something About Mary. And also a bit of Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness, even though his character doesn`t sport any facial hair.

I never knew the Nusch had it in him to evoke such comparisons.

6,000,000 Cards and Counting... said...

I don't think I have ever seen Will Clark with a mustache before!

tourist504 said...

I went to the same high school as Will Clark in New Orleans. He came and gave a speech at a morning assembly one time. Got his autograph and took a picture. Nice guy. Also my cousin who worked at a photo-developing place in the 90's met him and got me his autograph again. Now I have 2.