Saturday, September 19, 2015

Remembering Yankees of the Past: Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens was brought up this morning in our daily “This Day in Yankees History” post as he started the 2001 season with a 20-1 record (or 20-01 record in 2001 if you want to be clever). Roger was an integral part of the “Dynasty Years” in New York as he added a ferocity unmatched by any pitcher in the game, also known as roid rage. Clemens spent the 1999-2003 and the 2007 season with the Yankees after spending 1984-1996 with the Red Sox and 1997 and 1998 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. Clemens also spent the 2004-2006 seasons down in Houston with Andy Pettitte and the Astros but we as Yankee fans like to conveniently forget that. Today we will remember another Yankee of the past, Mr. William Roger Clemens.

As we all remember vividly Clemens did not sign a contract with the Boston Red Sox after the 1996 season even though he was reportedly offered “by far the most money ever offered to a player in the history of the Red Sox franchise.” General Manager Dan Duquette mentioned that Clemens was in the “twilight” of his career when he left for Toronto and two pitching triple crown’s and Cy Young Awards later the New York Yankees acquired Clemens before the 1999 season for David Wells, Homer Bush, and Graeme Lloyd. Clemens immediate impact was huge as he helped New York win the 1999 and 2000 World Series before ultimately reaching the 2001 and 2003 World Series’ before losing in both.

As we mentioned Clemens best season in pinstripes was by far the 2001 season when he started 20-1 and finished the season 20-3 winning his sixth Cy Young Award of his career. Clemens is the last New York Yankees pitcher to win the Cy Young Award as it stands today. Clemens was on the mound in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series where he out pitched Curt Schilling for six innings before Mariano Rivera blew the save in the 9th inning to give Arizona their first World Series Championship. Clemens would retire after the 2003 campaign with the Yankees after a season in which Clemens won his 300th game and achieved his 4,000th strikeout against the St. Louis Cardinals in Yankee Stadium. Clemens “went out” on top after 2003 finishing with a 17-9 record with a 3.91 ERA and a career 310-160 record with 4,099 strikeouts in his career.

As we all remember Clemens came out of his quick retirement for the 2004 season to join his friend Andy Pettitte in Houston with the Astros. While we could talk about him starting the All Star Game that season, him winning his seventh Cy Young Award, his record breaking $18,000,022 in salary arbitration for the 2005 season, his 1.87 ERA in 2005, his return to the World Series in 2005, or him coming out of retirement for a second time in 2006 but this is YANKEES of the past, so we won’t. Instead we will focus on Clemens unexpectedly showing up in the owner’s box at Yankee Stadium on May 6, 2007 as he announced he was coming out of retirement for a third time. Clemens would win his 350th game of his career on July 2 against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium. A hamstring injury ended his 2007, and ultimately his career, prematurely in the Bronx. Clemens finished the season with a 6-6 record with a 4.18 ERA and another loss in the postseason for the Bronx Bombers.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)