Leading Off

Leading Off: Why do Giants keep issuing jersey No. 22?

What is it about the Giants and jersey No. 22?

Most longtime Giants fans associate jersey No. 22 with Will Clark, the sweet-swinging, left-handed slugger from the “Humm Baby” days the late 1980s and early 1990s. From the way he wore thick patches of eye black on his scowling face to his swagger on the diamond, Clark was admired as much as – if not more than – any other player in the San Francisco era.

As much as Clark meant to the club, the Giants did not retire No. 22 upon his departure after the 1993 season, and we’re not saying it should be retired.

But why do the Giants put No. 22 back in play every time a new player joins the team?

Dan Uggla became the 19th player to be issued No. 22 – since 1994 – when he made his Giants debut Friday against the Dodgers. In Atlanta, Uggla wore No. 26, which hasn’t seen daylight in San Francisco since Jay Witasick wore it in 2002.

There’s a grass-roots effort by Giants fans to retire No. 22. A Facebook page called Retire Clark 22 has been launched to try to create buzz around AT&T Park and Giants Nation to get involved.

Does Clark deserve to have his name and jersey retired along with Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal?

No. Fans loved his hustle and personality, but he’s not a legend.

But since Clark is a special assistant to the team and does suit up once in a while, he should be the only person – coach or player – to wear No. 22.

At the very least, the Giants should keep the number on a shelf until it can be issued to a young, promising player who has the potential to live up to the number – not given to a player just passing through town.

– Victor Contreras


Today’s poll

What should the Giants do about jersey No. 22?

• Retire it.

• Keep issuing it to non-stars.

• Save it for a potential star.

To vote, go to sacbee.com/sports

Monday’s results

Do you listen to sports talk radio?

• Yes, but only in car: 65%

• No, I prefer music: 28%

• What’s a radio: 7%

Total votes: 171

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