MLB postseason: The ten best playoff MVPs

Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports /
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Will Clark with Willie Mays: Clark was a one-man gang against the Cubs in the 1989 NLCS. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Will Clark with Willie Mays: Clark was a one-man gang against the Cubs in the 1989 NLCS. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

2. Will Clark, 1.243, 1989 NLCS

The Giants’ first baseman almost single-handedly lifted his team past the NL East champion Chicago Cubs to the World Series. Every time the Cubs needed a big out, Clark was there to spoil the plan.

Clark set the tone early, with a four-hit performance in the first game, an 11-3 Giants rout. He doubled, homered twice, and drove in six runs.

Then when the series shifted to San Francisco even at a game each, Clark really took over. He had two more hits in the third game a 5-4 Giants victory. One day later, Clark’s three-hit game included two doubles and he scored twice.

In the next day’s wrapup, Chicago led 1-0 until Clark tripled to open the seventh. A Kevin Mitchell fly ball scored him with the tying run. One inning later, Clark’s two-out single scored Candy Maldonado and Brett Butler with the go-ahead runs in what would become a 3-2 Giants victory.

For the series, Clark terrorized Cubs pitching to the tune of a .650 average, 13 hits in 20 at bats. Six of those hits went for extra bases, and he drove in eight runs.

Perhaps oddly, Clark’s luck did not hold in the ensuing World Series. He produced just four hits in 16 at bats, failed to drive in a run, and the American League champion Oakland Athletics defeated Clark’s Giants in four straight.