Andrews lays claims to its famous Clark twins

Shown with one of the signs the Andrews Lions Club had made to recognize the accomplishments of the Clark twins are (from left) Lion Phil Bitzer, Joe Clark, Dale Clark, Lions President Joyce Walker and Lion Phil Ruppert.
Photo by Scott Trauner.

Originally published April 27, 2009.

Members of the Andrews Lions Club recently recognized the accomplishments of the famous Clark Twins, who hailed from the small burg in western Huntington County, by having signs made to place on the north and south ends of town in their honor.

The signs, which read "Hometown of the Clark Twins," will be placed along Ind.-105 - near the Andrews-Dallas Township Fire station on the north edge of town and just before the curve on the south edge of town.

Longtime Andrews residents Dale and Joe Clark are two of three surviving brothers of the six-member Clark Twins basketball team that gained notoriety in the late 1940s, winning two National Family League championships and touring with the Harlem Globetrotters.

The Clarks' parents - Harvey and Gertrude Aker Clark - had 11 children, eight of whom were twins - six boys and two girls. In addition to gaining fame through basketball, the family also won numerous awards and trophies for having the most twins in a family.

Of the four sets of twins, only one sibling from each pair is still alive. Twins included Bob and Ross, who were the oldest, Dale and Don, Jim and Joe, and Mildred and Margaret, who were the youngest. Besides Dale and Joe, Ross and Mildred also survive.

The six twin boys from the family formed a basketball team and started playing in the National Family League in 1946, winning the championship that year and again in 1947. After winning the second championship, Life magazine printed a story about the Clark brothers.

That article caught the attention of Abe Saperstein, founder of the Harlem Globetrotters, who subsequently offered the twins an opportunity to tour with the famous hoopsters. The Clarks toured with the Globetrotters for four years, playing five nights a week each season, which lasted from November until April.

"We played in 39 states and 14 countries," Dale Clark recalls.

Crowds often favored the Clark Twins over their more well-known adversaries, as was the case in Paris, Joe Clark adds.

"The audience clapped five minutes for us and only a little for the Trotters," he relates.

One of the games they played in Berlin set a world record for attendance as 75,000 people poured in to watch. That record stood until just a few years ago, Dale notes.

"They broke it a couple of years ago in Detroit" when 76,000 fans gathered for a football game, he says.