Former MLB All-Star Jack Clark, now a rookie radio host in St. Louis, is letting fly some bold allegations about two of baseball's biggest stars. Clark says he "knows for a fact" that former Cardinal Albert Pujols has used performance-enhancing drugs. Clark has accused Tigers ace Justin Verlander of using PEDs too.
Clark — who hit 340 homers in 18 MLB seasons, most notably with the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals — is in his first week as a radio co-host on WGNU (920 AM) and he's obviously not starting slowly. Clark jumped right into the biggest story in baseball, the ongoing PED controversy that was punctuated earlier this week when 13 players were suspended in the fallout of the Biogenesis scandal.
Clark's accusations aren't connected to that. In the case of Pujols, Clark is basing his allegations on hearsay from Pujols' ex-trainer Chris Mihlfeld — Clark says he "never saw him" use PEDs. In the case of Verlander, Clark is just looking at the pitcher's down(ish) year and flimsily attempting to connect some dots.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a full rundown, but here's the meaty part:
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 [co-host Kevin] 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.
There are problems with that story, though: The trainer in question says he hasn't talked to Clark in 10 years and that Clark's accusations are not true. Mihlfeld told NBC Sports:
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.
When tossing PED allegations at Verlander, Clark didn't even have any hearsay to offer. He just said the "signs are there."
“Verlander was like Nolan Ryan, he threw 97, 98, 100 miles an hour from the first inning to the ninth inning. 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.”
Well then. Somebody get Bud Selig on the phone.
Clark has also accused former Blue Jays and Dodgers slugger Shawn Green of PED and gone on a tirade about the "phonies and frauds" in the game today.
“That’s one reason why I don’t want to coach, I can’t stand it,” he added. “I can’t stand to coach the guys that are cheating and faking, (are) phonies and frauds, for a game that I love when guys played it the right way and guys like (former Braves standout) Dale Murphy can’t get into the Hall of Fame, a quality guy and a great player and an MVP.
“He has to take a back seat to these creeps and lowlifes like (Mark) McGwire. It just makes me sick and I just can’t be a part of that anymore.”
Who to believe? Well, reading over all the quotes, it sounds like Clark either has an ax to grind or is approaching his new radio gig with a shock jock attitude — say the outrageous to get people to listen. But, hey, many of us scoffed at Jose Canseco and his steroid allegations too. So, as baseball continues to teach us, we must be careful before believing in anybody.