the first pitcher
in history to strike out 20 batters in a
nine-inning Major League game
William Roger Clemens was born
in Dayton, Ohio, on August 4, 1962. His parents
separated when he was an infant, and his mother
subsequently married Woody Booher, the man
Clemens considers his father; Booher died when
Roger was nine years old.
Clemens spent his high school
years at Spring Woods High School in Houston,
Texas, where he starred in football, basketball,
and baseball. He was scouted by the Philadelphia
Phillies and Minnesota Twins during his senior
year, but opted for college instead.
As a pitcher for San Jacinto
College North in 1981, Clemens compiled a 9-2
record. He was selected by the New York Mets in
the 1981 draft, but did not sign. Instead, he
went to the University of Texas, where he
compiled a 25-7 record in two All-American
seasons. He was on the mound when the Longhorns
won the 1983 College World Series, and
subsequently became the first player to have his
baseball uniform number retired at the University
Boston Red Sox, 1984-1996
Drafted 19th overall by the Red
Sox in 1983, Clemens quickly rose through the
Minor League system and made his Major League
debut on May 15, 1984.
On April 29, 1986, Clemens
became the first pitcher in history to strike out
20 batters in a nine-inning Major League game, at
Fenway Park against the Seattle Mariners. Since
then, only Kerry Wood and Randy Johnson have
duplicated this accomplishment. The record for
any game is 21, held by Tom Cheney, for a
On September 18, 1996, Clemens
became the only pitcher in Major League history
to strike out 20 batters twice. The feat happened
at Tiger Stadium.
At the end of the 1996 season,
Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette said Clemens
was in the "twilight of his career" and
opted not to re-sign him. Clemens signed with the
Toronto Blue Jays during the off-season.
Toronto Blue Jays, 1997-1998
On July 12, 1997, his first
start as a Blue Jay, Clemens gave 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 game was played,
ironically enough, in Fenway Park.
Won the pitching Triple Crown
and the Cy Young award in both seasons.
During the off-season, Clemens
was traded to the New York Yankees for David
Wells, Homer Bush and Graeme Lloyd.
New York Yankees, 1999-2003
Helped the Yankees win the
World Series in 1999 and 2000.
In 2001, Clemens became the
first pitcher in Major League history to start a
season 20-1; he ended it at 20-3.
Early in the 2003 season,
Clemens announced his intention to retire at the
end of the season.
On June 13, 2003, pitching
against the St. Louis Cardinals in Yankee
Stadium, he recorded his 300th career win and
4,000th strikeout, the only player in Major
League history to record both milestones in the
same game. He became the 21st pitcher to record
300 wins, and only the third to record 4,000
He made one start in the World
Series against the Florida Marlins, and left
trailing 3-1 after seven innings.
Ended the season with a career
record of 310-160 and 4,099 strikeouts.
Houston Astros, 2004-2007
On January 12, 2004, Clemens
decided to un-retire and sign a one-year deal
with the Astros.
On May 5, 2004, he recorded his
4,137th strikeout to place him second on the
all-time list behind Nolan Ryan.
He finished the 2004 season
with an 18-4 record, 4,317 career strikeouts, and
a career record of 328-164. At age 42, he also
became the oldest player ever to win the Cy Young
An $18,000,022 contract
convinced Clemens to put off his retirement for
another year. The deal gave Clemens the highest
yearly salary ever earned by a pitcher in Major
League history, as well as the sixth highest paid
player in baseball that year.
On April 8, 2005, Clemens won
his first start of the season, against the
Cincinnati Reds, which tied him with Steve
Carlton for second in wins. On May 9, he got his
second win of the season against the Florida
Marlins, setting a new record for career wins by
a right-handed pitcher (330) and placing him
second on the all-time list for all pitchers
behind Warren Spahn (a left-hander).
He ended the 2005 season with a
league-leading 1.87 ERA, which was also the
lowest of his career and the lowest since Greg
Maddux in 1995.
On October 9, 2005, Clemens
made his first relief appearance since 1984,
entering as a pinch hitter in the 15th inning of
the National League Championship. He then pitched
three innings to help the Astros defeat the
Atlanta Braves in the longest post-season game in
Major League history (18 innings); Clemens was
awarded the win.
The Astros declined to re-sign
Clemens following the 2005 season. Although the
Rangers, Red Sox and Yankees all expressed an
interest in signing him, Clemens turned them all
On March 16, 2006, Clemens'
Team USA was eliminated by Mexico in the second
round of the World Baseball Classic.
On May 31, 2006, Clemens signed
a one-year contract with the Astros worth
$22,000,022, which would have been the highest
one-year salary in Major League history. However,
since Clemens did not play a full season, he only
received a pro-rated percentage of that contract
-- a paltry $12.25 million. He made his return on
June 22, 2006, against the Minnesota Twins, and
lost to their rookie pitcher, Francisco Liriano,
4-2. He retired for good on September 16, 2007.
347 wins - 176 losses
4,581 strikeouts (2nd behind Nolan Ryan)
Is one of only four pitchers to
surpass 4,000 strikeouts.
He is tied with Tom Glavine and
John Smoltz for most World Series losses among
active players (4).
Honors and Awards
Winner of seven Cy Young
Awards, two more than any other pitcher.
He is the fourth pitcher to win the award in
Named American League Most
Valuable Player in 1984, 1987, 1991, 1997, 1998
Named National League Most Valuable Player in
He is the only starting pitcher since Vida
Blue in 1971 to win a league MVP award.
Ranked Number 53 on The
Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest
Baseball Players, in 1999.
Elected to the Major League
Baseball All-Century Team by fans in 1999.
In 2004, the University of
Texas changed the name of its award for best
college pitcher from the Rotary Smith Award to
the Roger Clemens Award.
Moved up to Number 15 by The
Sporting News in 2005.
Has been a member of eleven
Won the All-Star MVP in 1986.
Has won The Sporting News
Pitcher of the Year Award five times.
Roger Clemens and Debra Godfrey
were married on November 24, 1984. They have four
sons: Koby, Kory, Kacy, and Kody. Koby was
drafted by the Astros as a third baseman and
signed on July 14, 2005, at the age of eighteen.
Clemens' autobiography, Rocket
Man: The Roger Clemens Story, written with
Peter Gammons, was published in 1988.
Clemens has appeared as himself
in several television episodes, including The
Simpsons, Hope and Faith, Spin
City, and Saturday Night Live. He
has also appeared in a few movies, including Kingpin,
Anger Management, and Cobb.
Houston Astros http://houston.astros.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/team/player.jsp?player_id=112388
Roger Clemens Foundation www.rogerclemensonline.com
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