William Roger Clemens (born August 4, 1962), nicknamed "The Rocket", is an American former Major League Baseball starting pitcher who played 23 seasons in Major League Baseball for four teams. Clemens was one of the most dominant pitchers in major league history, tallying 354 wins, a 3.12 earned run average (ERA), and 4,672 strikeouts.
What Clemens didn't know as he blew a fastball past Travis Fryman for the final out of that game on September 18, 1996 is that he had just equaled his own Major League record of 20 strikeouts in a game.
Catcher Bill Haselman told Clemens of his feat while greeting him on the mound.
Out of all the gems Clemens has pitched in his legendary career, this one will go down as one of his most utterly dominant.
Clemens was traded to the New York Yankees for the 1999 season, where he had his first World Series success. In 2003, he reached his 300th win and 4,000th strikeout in the same game. Clemens is one of only four pitchers to have more than 4,000 strikeouts in his career (the others are pitchers Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, and Steve Carlton). Clemens played three seasons with the Houston Astros, where he won his seventh Cy Young Award. He rejoined the New York Yankees during the 2007 season.
At Texas, Clemens pitched 35 consecutive scoreless innings, a NCAA record that stood until Justin Pope broke it in 2001.
Clemens was drafted 19th overall by the Boston Red Sox in 1983 and quickly rose through the minor league system, making his major league debut on May 15, 1984. In 1986, his 24 wins helped guide the Sox to a World Series berth and earned Clemens the American League MVP award for the regular season. He also won the first of his seven Cy Young Awards.
The sequence is surreal as Clemens blows a 97-mph fastball past Piazza for a strike. Then another. Then he unleashes a splitter for a ball. The next pitch is a blazing fastball that tails in on Piazza's hands. He swings and boom! -- the bat explodes into three pieces. The handle stays in Piazza's hands. The middle of the bat flies into foul territory off the first-base side. The barrel, the biggest part of the jagged bat, bounces to the left side of the infield, between the mound and first base.
Clemens rushes in to field what he thinks is the ball. At least that's what he says later. Then, to the astonishment of millions of people, once he realizes it's a piece of a bat, and not the ball, Clemens angrily flings the bat toward foul territory on the first-base side -- right in the path of Piazza, who is running toward first. Piazza is stunned, confused and a little disoriented because of all the flying bat pieces, yet he is certain Clemens is throwing the bat purposely at him. A stunned Piazza begins walking toward Clemens with a perplexed expression. "What's your problem?" Piazza yells.
The Roger Clemens Foundation is an entity dedicated to helping children. It was established in 1992 by Roger and Debbie Clemens in order to ensure that funds raised by the Foundation through golf tournaments, silent auctions and other events, would be properly distributed to the charities and organizations that they have committed to support.
The Foundation exists for the purpose of carrying on and supporting educational, charitable, literary, scientific and religious activities for children, with a special emphasis on underprivileged and at-risk children, and children with special needs.
WASHINGTON—A jury acquitted baseball great Roger Clemens on Monday of all charges that he lied to Congress about using steroids—the second time in a month the Justice Department has suffered a high-profile defeat.
Mr. Clemens, 49 years old, fought back tears as he thanked supporters after a legal saga that dates to 2007, when a congressionally ordered inquiry into steroids in pro baseball had concluded the pitcher was among those who had used steroids. "It's been a hard five years," Mr. Clemens said outside the U.S. District Court here. "All you media guys that know me and have followed my career," he said, pausing to regain control of his emotions. "I put a lot of hard work into that career."
(Written in August 2010) Roger Clemens was vehement: "Let me be clear. I have never taken steroids or HGH," he told a House committee in 2008. Now, instead of the Hall of Fame, baseball's seven-time Cy Young winner could go to prison after being indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday for allegedly lying to Congress.
The case writes a new chapter in one of baseball's worst scandals, the rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs in the 1990s and early 2000s, and leaves Clemens' legacy in jeopardy..."The indictment of Roger Clemens comes as no surprise to me," said Victor Conte, founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, the center of a drug scandal that enveloped Bonds and other star athletes.
"In my opinion, the case against Clemens is far stronger than the case against Barry Bonds. Brian McNamee is an eyewitness who will testify against Clemens and there appears to be strong physical evidence against him as well," he said. "I believe Roger Clemens is in a lot of trouble."
The winner of 354 games and seven Cy Young Awards was acquitted on all charges that he obstructed and lied to Congress, and the jury came to the decision quicker than a day-night doubleheader.
The question now is whether this will change voters' opinion when Clemens appears on the Hall of Fame ballot in December for the first time.
He made his debut with the Boston Red Sox in 1984, and went on to win 20 games for them three times and help them to the World Series in 1986. He was the 1986 American League MVP, the last starter to win MVP honors for 25 years; Justin Verlander would be the next. In 1996, after four subpar seasons, the Red Sox let Clemens become a free agent.
He played well enough as a freshman (with a 9-2 won-loss record) for the New York Mets to pick him in round twelve of the 1981 draft with a $30,000 signing bonus. Just as he was considering the New York deal, the University of Texas finally came through with its scholarship offer to Clemens...Choosing the Longhorns turned out to be the winning strategy. In his first two years for the Longhorns, Clemens won twenty-five games, and lost just seven, striking out 241 batters in 275 innings, while walking just fifty-six. In June of 1983, he was the winning pitcher in the final game of the College World Series, giving Texas the national college title.
"He was an excellent pitcher in college, improving every year," college and pro teammate Spike Owen told Sports Illustrated. "But I don't think anybody could have looked at him then and known what was in store."
For a period of six years, beginning at the age of 7, Clemens attended six different schools in three cities.
Desperate for some stability, in the middle of his freshman year of high school, he moved to Houston to live with his older brother, Randy Clemens. From a young age, Clemens showed the kind of physical drive that he would carry throughout his professional baseball career. He worked out constantly, sticking to a strict regimen of weightlifting, calisthenics and running that he'd devised himself.
"I had certain rules to follow when I was young, and discipline just became a habit," he told Sports Illustrated in 1988. "I always wanted to be strong—not just mentally, but physically."
Nicknamed "Rocket" because of the fastball he throws at well over 90 miles an hour, Clemens also has a sharp-breaking slider, a good curve, and excellent control. That combination won him American League Cy Young Awards in 1986, 1987, 1991, 1997, 1998, and 2001.