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[January 15, 2010]

Former Cardinal Jack Clark condemns McGwire and other players, calls them phony and fake

ST. LOUIS, Jan 15, 2010 (St. Louis Post-Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune News Service via COMTEX) -- Former Cardinals slugger Jack Clark apparently isn't enamored of the current hitting coach, especially in light of Mark McGwire's admission a few days ago that he had used steroids in 1998-99 when he played for the Cardinals and before that with Oakland.

Clark, who spoke whatever was on his mind when he played _ he was a big factor in two National League pennants for the Cardinals in the 1980s _ and occasionally when he hasn't been playing, said Thursday he was disgusted with the whole steroids issue and McGwire's now confirmed involvement in it.

"A lot of them should be banned from baseball, including Mark McGwire," Clark said.

"All those guys are cheaters _A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez). Fake, phony. Rafael Palmeiro. Fake, a phony.

"(Roger) Clemens, (Barry) Bonds. (Sammy) Sosa. Fakes. Phonies. They don't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

"They should all be in the Hall of Shame. They can afford to build it. They've all got so much money. And they could all go there and talk about the next way to rub something on your skin. The whole thing is creepy.

"They're all creeps. All these guys have been liars," Clark said.

Referring to some of the admitted steroids users' tearful apologies, Clark, who was the Los Angeles Dodgers' hitting coach several years ago, said, "They're not really a man's man. They're just whimpering boys who are just sad to watch.

"They try to put it off on somebody else. I don't know how they sleep at night, looking at all their fame, let alone the money they took by faking everybody out and lying to everybody. ...

"I don't know. I'd rather take my 340 home runs (11 seasons of more than 20) legitimately instead of taking that stuff to be phony." Former Cardinals outfielder Andy Van Slyke, agreeing in part with Clark, said, "I never condoned a player who used steroids while they played, but I've never been mad at a player. But I think if you have an opportunity to tell the truth and you continue to be disingenuous and lie, then there's every right for people to be upset by the continued lying or finger-pointing.

"There's a lot of finger-pointing by Mark McGwire. He blames it on not being tested and he blames it on the era. Why would you blame baseball for taking steroids? "That's like me saying the reason I was drunk driving was because I knew that on this particular highway, they didn't have anything for me to blow into." Clark criticized McGwire's initial statements that McGwire's swing and mechanics were good enough that they would have allowed him to hit the record-setting 70-homer total he achieved in 1998 without the aid of steroids.

As if he were speaking to McGwire, Clark said, "No, because your hand-eye coordination was not good enough. You're kind of a big goof. You had one thing. If you uppercut a ball, you might hit it.

"If his hand-eye coordination was so good, why did he feel the need to apologize to the (Roger) Maris family?" Clark asked.

"It's shame that he thinks we're all stupid, that he only did (steroids) because of injuries. That's such a cop-out, such a lie. These guys did (steroids) to take the money to pump up their egos and then take their consequences down the road.

Van Slyke played many years in Pittsburgh with Barry Bonds, who has been at the center of the steroids-HGH issue.

As to whether Bonds would ever pull a McGwire, Van Slyke said, "If he does come forward, I hope he'll be truthful. One thing about Barry. He's not afraid to speak the truth. For the last four years (since his appearance before a congressional committee), McGwire could have said something." Clark said the steroids abusers and suspected users "are all lucky they didn't end up in jail. It's all comical to a certain point. It's a three-ring circus. It really is.

"From (commissioner) Bud Selig to Tony (La Russa) to A-Rod to Manny Ramirez to Palmeiro . . . what a joke." Clark insists that Selig and La Russa, among others, knew more about the use of steroids 10 to 20 years ago than they were letting on.

"(McGwire's) own manager never knew that (Jose) Canseco and McGwire and anybody else ever had taken steroids?" Clark said. "Trust me, from (a former player), I have a lot of insight into who did what and when but I'm not even going to talk about it. It really doesn't matter.

"This thing stretches a long way back and it's really ugly and just really shocking. . . .

"These guys are playing the game for their own benefits and it's really disgusting. . . . They go up there and shed a tear and they think all is forgotten. Well, it's not forgotten and it never will be." Clark and McGwire both are scheduled to be at the club's Winter Warm-Up this weekend. Should they meet, Clark said, "I'm not going to say hello. I'm not going to shake his hand. He's a sad excuse for a player in the industry of baseball. Just seeing him in uniform makes me throw up.

"He should not be in baseball. He should be banned from baseball more than ever." ___ (c) 2010, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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