Jack Clark has been off of MLB radar for awhile — he most famously played for the Giants between 1975–84, and also had stints with the Cardinals, Padres, Red Sox and Yankees, accumulating 340 career homers and 17 luxury automobiles. The latter drove him to bankruptcy in the early 1990s.
Jack the Ripper — that was his nickname — was last in baseball in 2002, as a hitting coach with the Dodgers. Now he’s co-host on a St. Louis afternoon drive-time radio program with Kevin Slaten at WGNU (920 AM). In fact, this is Jack’s first week. And just as in his baseball career, when he opens his mouth there’s absolutely no filter.
On the air last week and again in a phone interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Thursday, Clark said that Albert Pujols’ former personal trainer, Chris Mihlfeld, told him that he had Pujols on an aggressive steroids regimine.
Clark has brought Pujols’ situation up at least twice already on the air. The first time, after Slaten said last Friday that he long has believed that Pujols “has been a juicer,” Clark jumped in before Slaten finished his thought and said, “I know for a fact he was. The trainer that worked with him, threw him batting practice from Kansas City, that worked him out every day, basically told me that’s what he did.”
Clark then talked about a conversation he had about a dozen years ago with Mihlfeld, who has worked as a conditioner with several major-league organizations. (Both men were with the Dodgers then, and Pujols was early in his career.)
Mihlfeld “had told me what he was doing with ‘Poolie’ — threw him batting practice, worked him out, shot him up, all that stuff,” Clark said on the air.
In the phone interview, Clark said that Mihfield offered to put him on a steroids program when he was coaching with the Dodgers.
“He told me, ‘Well you couldn’t do what I do with Albert Pujols, he’s on this real strenuous workout deal.’ I said, ‘I wouldn’t want to try to do that.’ Every day he kind of came to me and says, ‘you ready to do it? I’m ready to do it.’ I said, ‘Well I’m just not a needle guy, I’ve had enough surgeries and injuries over the years. I don’t like needles … I’m not going to do that … I’m not a player anymore.
“He had told me he had done that with Pujols, with steroids, and I really never thought too much about it because steroids were really not on my radar screen at that time.”
ESPN.com’s T.J. Quinn talked with Mihlfeld today, who denied Clark’s accusations:
“I haven’t even talked to Jack Clark in close to 10 years. His statements are simply not true. I have known Albert Pujols since he was 18 years old, and he would never use illegal drugs in any way. I would bet my life on it and probably drop dead on the spot if I found out he has. As before, once again both Albert and myself have been accused of doing something we didn’t do.”
UPDATE: Pujols says he’s going to sue both Clark and the radio station.
And Clark on the air about Verlander:
“Verlander was like Nolan Ryan, he threw 97, 98, 100 miles an hour from the first inning to the ninth inning,” Clark said on the air. “He got that big contract, now he can barely reach 92, 93. What happened to it? He has no arm problems, nothing’s wrong. It’s just the signs are there.
“The greed … they juice up, they grab the money and it’s just a free pass to steal is the way I look at it.”
Pujols’ name has never turned up on a list of suspected steroid users, nor has he ever tested positive for PEDs. Mihlfeld was mentioned in reports by Deadspin and other sites in 2006 as one of the names redacted in court documents in the case in which pitcher Jason Grimsely admitted using PEDs. Mihlfeld was Grimsely’s trainer.
Mihlfeld was never accused of anything by MLB, however. So as far as Clark’s comments are concerned, that one’s a classic he-said-she-said. But Clark’s Verlander claim is mere naked speculation.
In other words, he’ll do just fine on sports talk radio.