SAN FRANCISCO — On Thursday night, Will Clark watched the Giants take on the Chicago Cubs from a suite on the third level of Oracle Park. If he had turned at any point and looked a couple hundred feet to his left, he would have seen a pretty cool hint at what’s to come.
The Giants have already cleared space on their wall of retired numbers, with a black cloth covering a placard that sits between 20 and 24. On Saturday, the Giants will — finally — retire Clark’s No. 22, and one of the most popular players in franchise history can’t wait. During an interview for an upcoming Giants Talk Podcast, Clark said the ceremony will be one of the best moments of his career.
“I didn’t think it was going to happen because the Giants had a policy that you had to be a Hall of Famer,” Clark said. “Then when they retired Barry (Bonds’) number a few years back, needless to say, that kind of opened the door. The Giants approached me in 2019 and I thought it was the biggest honor I could ever have as a Giant.
“You’ll hear it on Saturday, but this is my Hall of Fame. That’s the way I’ve been treating it.”
Clark, now a special assistant for the organization, will be the 11th player to have his number retired by the Giants. Fans have clamored for the honor for years, but the Giants didn’t inform Clark of their decision until 2019.
The ceremony was originally supposed to take place in July of 2020, but the pandemic canceled those plans. Giants executive vice president of business operations Mario Alioto kept in regular contact with Clark, and early last year — when there was still uncertainty about ballpark safety — he informed him that it was being pushed back another year to guarantee that the Giants could have a full house on Clark’s big day.
That ended up being kind of perfect. Clark’s 22 will be retired in 2022, sliding in right between Monte Irvin’s 20 and Willie Mays’ 24. The Giants expect plenty of other Giants legends in the house Saturday, including Bruce Bochy, Orlando Cepeda and Buster Posey, who will have his own jersey retirement ceremony at some point.
Clark said at least a half-dozen former Giants teammates are coming in for the event and many members of his family will be at Oracle Park. He said the anticipation has been “building up” the last two years as he has waited for this day.
“Now that it’s here I’m pretty much prepared,” he said. “I’m ready for it. All my family and friends that are coming out, they’re so looking forward to it and coming out here and having a good time. I really want to share it with them and share it with all the fans, too.”