Tuesday, September 6, 2011

SUMMER 2011 BBM AWARDS Newcomer of the Year: Doug Clark, Quintana Roo Tigres

Having spent more than one winter in the Mexican Pacific League, the 35-year-old native of Springfield, Massachusetts is no stranger to baseball south of the border. However, 2011 was Doug Clark’s first season in the Mexican League after spending the previous three summers playing in Korea, and he made the most of it for the Quintana Roo Tigres.

A former MLBer with the San Francisco Giants in 2005 and Oakland Athletics in 2006, Clark had a strong first year in Cancun by batting .315 in 97 games for the Tigres and turning in one of just two 20/20 seasons in the Liga with 21 homers and 20 stolen bases. He played in the All-Star Game after batting .346 with 13 homers before the break, although he tailed off a bit in the second half of the season after playing continuously since the spring of 2010. While Clark’s 67 runs scored and 58 RBIs weren’t head-turning numbers, he had a knack for getting a hit when it counted late in games. Then came the playoffs.

Over 16 games, Clark’s .259 average was somewhat negligible, but his productivity wasn’t. His 14 runs and 14 ribbies were both among the postseason Liga leaders, his 4 homers tied Willie Romero and Albino Contreras for the Tigres team lead, his 4 stolen bases was tops among all players in the playoffs, and he went 6-for-12 in the Mexican Series against Mexico City as the Tigres swept the Diablos for their tenth LMB pennant. Not bad for a guy who didn’t play varsity baseball in high school before walking on at the University of Massachusetts, where he was on scholarship as a football wide receiver.