Jack Clark canned after Pujols rant
Albert Pujols threatened legal action after former Cardinals slugger Jack Clark accused the Angels star of using performance-enhancing drugs on his radio show this week, and now Clark is out of a job.
The company that put Clark on the air announced it has cut ties with him on its website Saturday morning. The move came hours after Pujols went on the offensive, vowing to make Clark and his employers pay.
“I’ve said time and time again that I would never take, or even consider taking, anything illegal," Pujols said in a statement after Friday's game. "I’ve been tested hundreds of times throughout my career and never once have I tested positive. It is irresponsible and reckless for Jack Clark to have falsely accused me of using PEDs. My faith in Jesus Christ, and my respect for this game are too important to me. I would never be able to look my wife or kids in the eye if I had done what this man is accusing me of.
“I know people are tired of athletes saying they are innocent, asking for the public to believe in them, only to have their sins exposed later down the road. But I am not one of those athletes, and I will not stand to have my name and my family’s name, dragged through the mud.
“I am currently in the process of taking legal action against Jack Clark and his employers at WGNU 920AM. I am going to send a message that you cannot act in a reckless manner, like they have, and get away with it. If I have to be the athlete to carry the torch and pave the way for other innocent players to see that you can do something about it, I am proud to be that person. I have five young children and I take being a role model very seriously. The last thing I want is for the fans, and especially the kids out there, to question my reputation and character.”
Clark was in his first week as co-host of an afternoon talk radio show on WGNU in St. Louis, where Pujols played for the Cardinals through their 2011 World Series championship season.
InsideSTL Enterprises, which provides programming to WGNU, said Clark is an independent contractor and would not return. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Clark's co-host Kevin Slaten also would not return.
Clark said that while he was the hitting coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the early 2000s, he was told by Chris Mihlfeld, who was a conditioning coach with the Dodgers, that Mihlfeld “shot (Pujols) up.”
On Saturday he stood by his story:
I completely stand by the story i told 8 days ago about conversations 13 years ago w/ Mihlfeld. He will never admit it. Google it.— Jack Clark (@JackAClark22) August 10, 2013
Mihfeld denied that he told Clark that Pujols took PEDs, according to a report by ESPN. Mihlfeld was the baseball coach at the Kansas City junior college Pujols attended in 1998 and is a former personal trainer for Pujols, according to the Post-Dispatch.
"I haven't even talked to Jack Clark in close to 10 years," Mihlfeld told ESPN.com. "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."
Clark has mentioned Pujols in relation to PEDs on the air previously. On Aug. 2, after Slaten said he has long believed that Pujols “has been a juicer,” Clark interrupted 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,” according to the Post-Dispatch.
Clark recalled a conversation with Mihlfeld, who has worked with several major-league clubs, when Clark was a Dodgers coach.
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 2006 one of the players Mihlfeld trained, pitcher Jason Grimsley, admitted using PEDs and was suspended by MLB.
At that time, Pujols said: “I don’t resent this as much for myself as I do for Chris. He’s got no way to defend himself against somebody who puts something out there that’s not true.”
Pujols also defended himself.
“I’ve said before I have nothing to worry about. If they want to test me ... then let’s go. I’ll do it tomorrow. No problem. But Chris has been put in a really unfair position. I know it bothers him. I hear it every time I talk to him.”
Pujols, who is on the disabled list with a foot injury, never has been accused of failing a drug test.
Clark didn't stop with Pujols. He also expressed skepticism about Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, who signed a contract extension in the offseason and has not been as dominant this year as in previous seasons.
“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.”
On Saturday he seemed to be backtracking.
Pt 2 i never accused verlander or green of PED use. If u didn't listen to show u don't know. PERIOD.— Jack Clark (@JackAClark22) August 10, 2013