“FENWAY'S BEST PLAYERS”
One of the most dominating pitchers in Major League Baseball history, William Roger Clemens was born on August 4, 1962 in Dayton, Ohio. The youngest child born to Bess and Bill Clemens, Roger was just 2 years old when his mother packed up her kids and left an unhappy marriage. Shortly thereafter, Clemens's mother married second husband Woody Booher, a tool-and-die maker who stepped in to play the father role for Roger. But Booher's health was unstable, and in 1970, he died from a massive heart attack. It was just one of many obstacles thrown at the young Clemens. 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.
At Spring Woods High School, Clemens was good enough to be the team's number two pitcher, but went undrafted upon graduating in 1980. He began his college career pitching for San Jacinto College North in 1981, where he was 9–2. The New York Mets selected Clemens in the 12th round of the 1981 draft, but he did not sign. He then attended the University of Texas at Austin, compiling a 25–7 record in two All-American seasons, and was on the mound when the Longhorns won the 1983 College World Series. He became the first player to have his baseball uniform number retired at The University of Texas. In 2004, the Rotary Smith Award, given to America's best college baseball player, was changed to the Roger Clemens Award, honoring the best pitcher. 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. He had a meteoric rise through the Red Sox farm system. Rac Slider, manager of the Red Sox's AA New Britain team declared to the Boston Globe, "I haven't seen anyone at the same stage who's got what he's got." Fully grown at 6'4" and 220 pounds, Clemens had the unique combination of one of baseball's best fastballs paired with pinpoint control. Joining the Red Sox midway through the 1984 season, he won nine games and lost four. Clemens holds the Major League record for strikeouts in a game with 20. He stunned the baseball world when he first attained it in 1986 before replicating the total 10 years later. Clemens is tied with Cy Young for the most wins of any pitcher in Red Sox franchise history: 192 (with 111 defeats). He had a 3.06 earned run average in his 13 years with the Red Sox and was a five-time All-Star during his days with Boston. 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. Clemens was a three-time Cy Young Award winner with the Red Sox in 1986, 1987, and 1991. Needless to say, he led the league in numerous categories during the top years, the very best of which was probably 1986 when he was 24-4 with a 2.48 ERA and had 258 strikeouts. That year was the first of seven seasons in which Clemens led the league in ERA, four of which were for Boston. Clemens struck out 2,590 opponents while pitching for the Red Sox.
Following the 1996 season, Clemens, who was perceived to be out of shape and close to the end of his career, left Boston via free agency for a lucrative deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. In his first year with Toronto, a newly rejuvenated Clemens once again dominated opponents, finishing the season with an American League best of 21 wins and his fourth Cy Young Award. After another mesmerizing season, in 1998—Clemens led the league in wins, strikeouts and ERA to earn a fifth Cy Young Award—Toronto traded Clemens to the New York Yankees. In 1999, he helped lead New York to a World Series win, the first title of his career. A second championship followed in 2000, as did his sixth Cy Young Award in 2001. In 2004, after stepping out of retirement, Clemens pitched for his hometown Houston Astros. Over the next three years, he earned a seventh Cy Young Award, and led the club to its first-ever World Series appearance. Following another flirtation with retirement, Clemens returned to the New York Yankees in 2007, for what turned out to be his final season.
In December of 2007, Clemens was included in a much-publicized report on baseball's steroid use by former U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell. The report alleged that Clemens had taken banned substances in 1998, 2000 and 2001—charges that Clemens has vehemently denied. Most famously, Clemens went before Congress in 2008 and refuted any use of performance enhancement drugs. However, as evidence pointing to Clemens's steroid use mounted—most notably by his former trainer, Brian McNamee—so did questions about his truthfulness. In 2010, Clemens was ensnared in more legal trouble, when he was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of perjury and making false statements to Congress. In July of 2011, Clemens received an unexpected victory: His perjury trial was thrown out on the first day of proceedings.
Clemens was inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2014.