Detroit Tigers: Top Ten First Basemen in Franchise History
By Andy Patton
Detroit Tigers: 1995-2001
Tony Clark had big shoes to fill when he replaced first baseman Cecil Fielder in 1995 (more on him later). Clark was up to the task however, posting a 121 OPS+ and hitting 156 home runs in a Tigers uniform.
The switch-hitting slugger was drafted second overall by the Tigers in the 1990 draft. He debuted in September of 1995 and hit .238 with three home runs in 101 at-bats.
Clark posted an ugly .299 OBP in 1996, but managed to blast 27 home runs. Fielder was traded at midseason, putting Clark squarely in the driver’s seat as Detroit’s new slugging first baseman.
Clark took off from 1997-1999. He posted three consecutive 30 home run seasons, slashing .282/.365/.510 with a 125 OPS+. Clark collected a combined 9.5 bWAR in those three seasons, for an average of 3.2 per season.
Clark remained with the Tigers through his All-Star 2001 season. He then spent the next eight seasons playing for five different teams. He hit 95 more home runs to give him 251 for his career.
Clark may have played on some bad Tigers teams in the 1990’s, but his prodigious power gives him a spot among the greatest first basemen in team history.