Roger Clemens

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Roger Clemens : biography

August 4, 1962 –

Clemens accomplished the 20-strikeout feat twice, the only player ever to do so. The second performance came more than 10 years later, on September 18, against the Detroit Tigers at Tiger Stadium. Clemens’s second 20-K day occurred in his third-to-last game as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

Clemens recorded 192 wins for the Red Sox, tied with Cy Young for the franchise record. No Red Sox player has worn his #21 since Clemens left the team in 1996.

Toronto Blue Jays (1997–98)

The Red Sox did not re-sign Clemens following the 1996 season, despite offering him "by far the most money ever offered to a player in the history of the Red Sox franchise." General Manager Dan Duquette remarked that he "hoped to keep him in Boston during the twilight of his career," though Clemens left and signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. Boston Herald

Clemens signed a four-year, $40 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays after the 1996 season, and won the pitching triple crown and the Cy Young Award in both his seasons in Toronto.

In Clemens’s first start in Fenway Park as a member of the Blue Jays (July 12, 1997) he pitched an inspired game, giving up only 4 hits and 1 run in 8 innings. 16 of his 24 outs were strikeouts, and every batter who faced him struck out at least once.

The emphasis on the misquoted 1996 "twilight" comment took on a life of its own following Clemens’s post-Boston successes, and Duquette was vilified for letting the star pitcher go. Ultimately, Clemens would go on to have a record of 162–73 for the rest of his career after leaving the Red Sox.

New York Yankees (1999–2003)

Clemens was traded to the New York Yankees before the season for David Wells, Homer Bush, and Graeme Lloyd. In 1999 and , he won World Series titles with the Yankees. Since his longtime uniform number #21 was in use by teammate Paul O’Neill, Clemens initially wore #12, before switching mid-season to #22.

Clemens made an immediate impact on the Yankees’ staff, anchoring the top of the rotation as the team went on to win a pair of World Series titles in 1999 and 2000. During the 1999 regular season, Clemens posted a 14–10 record with a 4.60 ERA. He logged a pair of wins in the postseason, where he pitched 7.2 innings of 1-run baseball during the Yankees’ game 4 clincher over the Atlanta Braves. Clemens followed up 1999 with a strong 2000 season, in which he finished with a 13–8 record with a 3.70 ERA for the regular season. During the 2000 MLB postseason, he helped the Yankees win their third championship in as many years. He pitched a shut out against the Seattle Mariners in the ALCS that year and also pitched eight scoreless innings against the New York Mets in the World Series. Clemens set the ALCS record for strikeouts in a game when he fanned 15 batters in a one-hit shutout of the Mariners in Game 4 of the ALCS. A seventh inning lead-off double by Seattle’s Al Martin was all that prevented Clemens from throwing just the second no-hitter in postseason history (Yankee Don Larsen threw a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series). The Yankees won the 2000 World Series.

Clemens’ best year with the Yankees came in 2001, when he became the first pitcher in MLB history to start a season 20–1. He finished at 20–3 and won his sixth Cy Young Award. He became the last Yankee pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. Clemens started for the Yankees in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he dueled Curt Schilling to a standstill after 6 innings, yielding only one run. The Diamondbacks went on to win the game in the 9th.

Early in , Clemens announced his retirement, effective at the end of that season. On June 13, 2003, pitching against the St. Louis Cardinals in Yankee Stadium, Clemens recorded his 300th career win and 4,000th career strikeout, the only player in history to record both milestones in the same game. The 300th win came on his fourth try; the Yankee bullpen had blown his chance of a win in his previous two attempts. He became the 21st pitcher ever to record 300 wins and the third ever to record 4,000 strikeouts, joining Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Steve Carlton (4,136). Randy Johnson (4,875) has since also joined the 4,000 strikeout club. His career record upon reaching the milestones was 300–155; his record at the end of the season was 310–160 with 4,099 strikeouts. Clemens finished the season with a 17–9 record and a 3.91 ERA.