Friday, May 17, 2013

#4 Roger Clemens

About the Front: We get a really good look at Roger Clemens' pitching grip, but I'm terrible at identifying that kind of stuff. His index and middle finger are very widely spaced - would that be a split-finger fastball? The other item of note is the blurry runner dancing away from first base in the background. There's no way of telling who the opposing team is. I'm offering all sorts of insight today.

About the Back: The write-up is a bit monotous, no? It's also odd that they mention the pair of four-hitters, and yet fail to point out that the April 12 and July 18 games were two-hitters. This does give us an excuse to look back at the stats and notice that Roger led the American League in shutouts five times in a six-year stretch. In 1989, Bert Blyleven topped the junior curcuit with five shutouts.

Triple Play:

1. Clemens' seven Cy Young Awards match Barry Bonds' seven MVPs. A fitting bit of symmetry for two of the biggest poster boys for the steroids panic. If you're curious, Bonds faced Roger eight times and went 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts, one hit-by-pitch, and five walks (three intentional). That makes for a fascinating slash line of .000/.750/.000.

2. If you dislike Roger Clemens as much as I do, you might take comfort in knowing that he used to rub Icy Hot on his groin before he pitched. Hmm..."comfort" was probably not the word to use there.

3. Roger's spent the last decade dithering over retirement and comebacks. In 2012, a 48-year-old Clemens started a couple of games for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League, supposedly as a favor to Skeeters' manager Gary Gaetti. He tossed three and a third scoreless innings against the Bridgeport Bluefish on August 25, and four and two-thirds scoreless innings against the Long Island Ducks on September 7. His son Koby, who had signed a one-day contract with Sugar Land, was his catcher in the second game.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I was always being on the lookout for players that shared my birthday of August 5. (Oh, the days before Baseball Reference.) I remember being greatly disappointed to learn that I missed out on "the Rocket" by a single day. Obviously, that was before I realized what an unlikable horse's ass he was.

Bill James Said: "It is very likely that Clemens will bounce back and have more 20-win seasons."  He did indeed post 20-win seasons in 1997, 1998, and 2001, whether he had pharmaceutical help or not (and he did).

On This Date in 1993: May 17. Calvin and Hobbes discuss the finer points of slugs and worms.


  1. Ah, Calvin and Hobbes references, now we're making the early '90s worthwhile!

    I never liked that Topps front-loaded this set with a bunch of stars. Spread 'em out!

  2. night owl - We didn't know how good we had it. No "reality TV" in the lexicon, either.

    1. Ah, but we did -- the "Real World" debuted in 1992!

  3. You missed my birthday by a day as well, a day before mine and Stan Belinda, the only baseball player that I've ever heard of who shares my DOB. David Robinson was also born on the 6th, but basketball < baseball.

  4. Backstop - My grandmother was also born on the 6th, so you are truly in good company.