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05 01 2012 0 Comment

On December 28th I had the privilege of attending the Dave Clark Foundation Kickoff Event in Corning, New York. Dave Clark is a former professional baseball player and the owner of the last existing Negro League baseball team, the Indianapolis Clowns.

I first met Clark in 1983 when I was working for the Elmira Suns in the New York-Penn League and Clark was coaching the Corning Community College baseball team. A long-term friendship has ensued and I’m proud of the fact that Clark is also now a client of mine.

Dave Clark has an amazing story to tell. He is the most inspirational person that I have ever met. At the age of ten months, Dave contracted polio that stunted his growth and left him without the full use of his legs. Yet he refused to let that handicap stand in his way of playing professional baseball, a feat that he accomplished with the use of crutches.

In 1975 Clark was named Fireman of the Year as the top relief pitcher for the Indianapolis Clowns. In 1981 he was selected to the Swedish Elite Professional Baseball League All-Star Team as a pitcher. In 1984 Clark purchased the Clowns and became their player-manager. By that time an arm injury had ended his pitching career but he continued to play, at first base.

In 1996 Clark worked with Team USA at the Atlanta Olympics, the same year that he founded the Swedish Little League. In 1997 he was named manager in the Swedish Elite League All-Star Game.

Clark was born and raised in Corning but now lives in Cape Coral, Florida. Clark’s ties to Sweden have remained strong over the years, first as a player, then manager and scout. He also met his wife, Camilla, in Sweden and they have two children, daughter, Elica, age 12, and two-year-old son Trey.

Clark now suffers from post-polio syndrome, an affliction that has caused his arms and upper body muscles to atrophy from overuse in compensating for his inability to use his legs. Clark used to run five miles a day on crutches for conditioning.

The Dave Clark Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded on the message of “Dream and Do.” The Foundation is raising money to conduct Disability Dream Days, a series of sports camps that Clark started for the benefit of handicapped youngsters. The Foundation is also raising money to purchase motorized scooters for post-polio survivors and others in need.

Clark has also established the “Pulling Each Other Along Award” to honor those who have gone above and beyond in assisting others less fortunate. The award is named as a tribute to a first grade classmate of Clark’s that brought a red flyer wagon to school on the day of a field trip to pull Dave along with his classmates, a gesture that had a very positive impact on young Clark’s life.

Clark would also like to build a number of “Fields of Dreams” for disabled youngsters and has plans for a series of children’s books dealing with overcoming handicaps, entitled “The Adventures of Little Clarky.”

Mike Veeck, son of legendary baseball team owner and promoter Bill Veeck, sums it up best in the forward he wrote for Clark’s autobiography Diamond in the Rough…the Dave Clark Story. “Dave Clark’s story is an astonishing blend of fact and fact. It only reads like fiction, but one could never make up the battles he has waged, the obstacles he has overcome, the victories that were finally his.”

The Foundation is hoping to take its message nationally and is interested in working with handicapped youngsters everywhere. If you would like to know more about the Foundation or participate in any way, go to

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