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Ex-MLBer Tony Clark, now head of the players' union, reveals his allergy to grass

Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League

Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, smiles as he sits down to talk with writers after a closed-door meeting with Giants players in the clubhouse on his first stop to meet with players from all the MLB teams on Feb. 25, 2015, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Credit: AP/Ross D. Franklin

TAMPA, Fla. – From the "life can be cruel" department . . . 

Tony Clark, the former Mets and Yankees first baseman who is now the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, revealed Saturday that he has always been allergic to something he came across quite a bit during his 15-year playing career:


The topic came up because Clark was all stuffed up as he spoke with the media outside the Yankees clubhouse following the team’s annual spring training meeting with union staff.

Clark said he used to get an allergy shot before spring training and then took medication during the season. The pollen count has been high in Florida recently, and Clark and many others are feeling the sniffly, sneezy effects.

“I’m a non-athlete now so I’m not getting that shot,” said Clark, 46. “The more I make the rounds during spring training, the more I’m out on the grass. I get beat up.”

Clark, who is 6-8, was a basketball player at Arizona and San Diego State before opting for a professional baseball career. And 20 years (including the minors) of playing on mostly grass fields.“That’s the Lord’s cruel joke,” Clark said. “If he had made me a basketball player . . , I did some things on the hardwood back in the day. Instead, he said, ‘No, I’m going to blow out your back playing basketball, so you’re going to have to play baseball and enjoy these allergies along the way. Giggle, giggle, chuckle, chuckle.’ “

Clark was a career .262 hitter with 251 home runs. He played for the Mets in 2003 and the Yankees in 2004. He became the head of the Players Association in 2013.

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