Whenever Tony Clark’s tenure atop the Major League Baseball Players Association does end, this past year could well be remembered as the most important of his career, a turning point in the union’s history. Last winter and into this spring, Clark led the players to gains during a three-month lockout. Then late this summer, he boldly invited roughly 5,000 new members into the union, the minor leaguers.

On Monday, the players rewarded their executive director with a five-year extension, a union official told The Athletic, putting Clark in line to oversee a third major league collective bargaining negotiation. The current CBA expires after the 2026 season, and Clark’s deal runs through 2027.

“Tomorrow is full of possibilities that may have not been contemplated yesterday,” Clark said in an hour-long interview last month.

The union’s executive board voted to extend Clark at the MLBPA’s annual meetings in Arizona, shortly after new members of the board itself were elected on Monday. Clark’s salary was not disclosed, but will eventually become public in the union’s annual financial reports. He made $2,250,000 in 2021.

A 50-year-old ex-player, Clark took control of the most powerful union in sports in late 2013, and he never expected he would be in this position.

“It was never my goal to work at the Players Association,” Clark said. “And so it sounds a bit corny, I suppose, but the only reason that I’m here doing what I’m doing now, God rest my soul, is the fraternity. That’s it.”

Clark was ushered in during a time of tragedy and need, after his predecessor Michael Weiner passed away in 2013 from a brain tumor. Going back just a few years, it appeared no certainty Clark would be asked to stay.

The first CBA he negotiated, in 2016, was widely panned as too skewed toward the league’s interests, souring his reputation. Although intelligent, he was regarded by some as an ex-player who lacked the experience to take on the well-equipped labor relations department at Major League Baseball.