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Tony Clark visits Tigers, wants Pete Rose reinstated

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. — Tony Clark said walking through the Tigers clubhouse at Tigertown on Tuesday made him feel 20 years younger.

"This is where I grew up," said Clark, a 1990 Tigers draftee who made his first big league camp here in 1994. "I walked through there today and I saw Parrish, both Parrishes (Lance and Larry), (Mike) Henneman, Mr. K (Al Kaline), Alan Trammell — those are all guys I was here with."

He said one of his favorite memories of Joker Marchant Stadium was hitting a ball off a tee over the batter's eye (huge green wall, 420 feet from home plate) in center field. He also recalled his first day at Tigertown.

"I have never been more uncomfortable in my life," he said. "It was my first day, my first stretch and I was so uncomfortable I was having to inhale Pepto-Bismol before coming out to stretch."

Sparky Anderson was the manager. Clark sat out on the right-field grass stretching with Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Cecil Fielder, Kirk Gibson, Eric Davis and others.

"We are all sitting down and I am off to the side and Sparky comes out and says, 'Hey guys, hey guys, I've got a question,' " Clark said. "So Sparky has everyone paying attention and he says, 'What do Michael Jordan and Tony Clark have in common?' And I'm thinking, 'Oh man, it's day one.'

"He said, 'Neither one of them played baseball since high school.' That was my first day, first stretch. Rest assured the Pepto-Bismol schedule continued for quite some time."

The Tigers were the 25th team Clark, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, has met with this spring. He has been answering players questions about the pace of play rules and any and all concerns they may have.

As he met with the media afterward, though, he was asked about Pete Rose and his possible reinstatement into the game.

"I would love to see Pete Rose reinstated," Clark said. "He made a decision, a decision that was not the right decision and he has paid a price for that decision. I would love there to be a consideration made on behalf of the commissioner's office that would take that (time served) into account."

For reinstatement, he was asked.

"For reinstatement," he said.

The union, as Clark pointed out, doesn't have jurisdiction over the issue.

"It does from the standpoint of Pete being in the fraternity (of players)," Clark said. "Pete has found himself in the situation he has for the length of time that he has. We don't have any input on whether he's reinstated or not. But it is something as a past member of the players association we certainly pay attention to it."