Does former Mississippi State baseball star and Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer Will Clark belong in Cooperstown?

The Sporting News recently published a story about Clark’s chances of being voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Clark is on the veterans ballot for the first time. Graham Womack, the writer, wrote about how complicated the case for Clark is.

I agree.

Based strictly on numbers, Clark does not get in.

Womack essentially says that, but also says when you weigh in other factors, Clark’s numbers get much, much better.

I agree again.

Clark retired with 2,176 hits and 284 home runs. By and large, those are not Hall of Fame numbers.

But…

He played the majority of his career at cold, windy Candlestick Park in San Francisco, a place where many home runs become long outs.

Rick Cleveland Credit: Melanie Thortis

And Clark retired early to spend more time with his autistic son. He quit baseball at age 36, healthy and at the top of his game. He probably could have played at least four more seasons and seriously raised those hits and home run numbers.

With more than 8,000 career plate appearances, he hit .303. He was at his best in the clutch. They did not for nothing call him Will the Thrill.

Womack gives Clark a 40 percent chance of making it to Cooperstown. How he comes up with that figure I have no clue, but you can read his complete story here.

Rick Cleveland, a native of Hattiesburg and resident of Jackson, has been Mississippi Today’s sports columnist since 2016. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s in journalism, Rick has worked for the Monroe (La.) News Star World, Jackson Daily News and Clarion Ledger. He was sports editor of Hattiesburg American, executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. His work as a syndicated columnist and celebrated sports writer has appeared in numerous magazines, periodicals and newspapers.
Rick has been recognized 12 times as Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year, and is recipient of multiple awards and honors for his reporting and writing.