Tony Clark Becomes First Former Player To Serve As MLBPA Exec Dir
The MLBPA Exec Board yesterday unanimously selected Deputy Exec Dir Tony Clark as Exec Dir, making him "the first former major leaguer" to lead the union, according to Chris Jenkins of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Clark was serving as interim Exec Dir since the death of Michael Weiner on Nov. 21, and worked as MLBPA Player Services Dir from '10 until his appointment as Deputy Exec Dir in July. Clark "represents a major change" in the position, "in that he does not have a background in law, let alone labor law." Both Weiner and former MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr were attorneys. Padres Special Assistant to Baseball Operations Mark Loretta said, "Once Michael got sick, people began thinking about this transition and sort of grooming Tony. ... One of the reasons for the success of the players association is the continuity of its leadership. Donald was there forever. Michael was there for 25 years. Now you've got Tony, along with attorneys who've been there a long time and are there to support Tony. Tony's just a great leader" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/4).
NO PLANS TO ROCK THE BOAT: Clark said that while his playing experience "would help him relate to the membership, he planned no fundamental changes to Weiner's evenhanded direction." He added that the "most important lesson he would take from Weiner was the need to be patient, yet vigilant, in protecting the players' interests." In N.Y., Tyler Kepner writes some players have recently "expressed public frustration that others have violated the drug policy and then cashed in almost immediately with lucrative contracts." Royals P and player rep Jeremy Guthrie said that players "would examine the issue before the end of their meeting." Clark said that the drug agreement between the players and the owners "could be re-evaluated at any time" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/4). Clark said of the union's stance on punishment for players who have used PEDs, "We will have a discussion. The players will decide what direction we will go and do it in such a way to protect their interests and advance the game." Clark added that the MLBPA "would consider the latest MLB proposal to reform the posting system for Japanese players, one that involves a cap on how much MLB teams can bid for the right to negotiate with Japanese players." In L.A., Bill Shaikin notes the union "historically has opposed caps of any kind as an artificial restraint on spending that interferes with the negotiation between a player and team." Meanwhile, Clark "expressed enthusiasm for the World Baseball Classic" (L.A. TIMES, 12/4).