Friday, March 12, 2010

Jack Clark Listed as One of the Greatest Financial Eff-Ups Ever in Pro Sports

Posted By on Fri, Mar 12, 2010 at 12:49 PM

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These days former Cardinals slugger Jack Clark is perhaps best known for labeling Mark McGwire a "fake, phony, cheater" after Big Mac admitted earlier this year that he'd used steroids throughout his career.

But in finance and investment circles, Clark is best known for his ability to piss away millions of dollars.

The website this week came out with a ranking of "7 Costly Pro Athlete Screw Ups." The list includes such dignitaries as Mike Tyson (he of the Bentleys and Bengal tigers), Sottie Scottie Pippen (once the proud owner of a $4-million corporate jet) and Evander Holyfield (who built himself a modest, 109-room house).

Clark's vice was cars. Really fast cars.

Former professional baseball slugger Jack Clark was driven into bankruptcy in 1992 by his appetite for luxury cars. According to his bankruptcy filing, he owned 18 luxury automobiles, including a $700,000 Ferrari and a Rolls Royce. Clark was trying to pay 17 car notes simultaneously, and whenever he got bored with a car he would get rid of it and just buy another one. He ended up losing million-dollar homes and his drag-racing business because of his extravagant spending habits, but despite one of the most publicized bankruptcies in baseball, Clark reportedly got back on his feet in the late '90s.
In a 2005 Riverfront Times' profile of Clark, we asked the '80s ballplayer known as "The Ripper" to tell us about his riches to rags descent. From that story:

In 1992, amid a turbulent divorce, Clark filed for personal bankruptcy. The four-time All-Star who'd pulled down million-dollar salaries was broke. The press descended, zeroing in on some of Clark's more lavish expenditures -- his collection of vintage roadsters, his sponsorship of his own drag-racing team -- as the key nails in his financial coffin.

Clark, whose attorney had advised him not to speak about the specifics of his financial situation because of the divorce proceedings, now says predatory investment consultants are primarily to blame for the embarrassing debacle. "Basically, they just ripped me off," he says, betraying a lingering reticence on the topic of his personal finances that stops just sort of a zipped lip. "I had plenty of money to go drag racing. And yeah, I had a '50s car collection, but I was born in '55. A bunch of guys got ripped off. At the time I had to let people come to their own conclusions."

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