Rocket launch

Roger Clemens returns to BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot

December 03, 2013
2014 Hall of Fame candidate Roger Clemens. (Photo File/NBHOF Library)

His career took him to the game’s greatest heights, spanning three decades and two distinct eras. 

Now, Roger Clemens makes his second appearance on the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot. 

Clemens, who won a record seven Cy Young Awards, is one of 36 players on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot for the Class of 2014 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. In his first year on the ballot in 2013, Clemens received 37.6 percent of the vote. 

BBWAA members who have at least 10 years of tenure with the organization can vote in the election, and the results will be announced Jan. 8. Any candidate who receives votes on at least 75 percent of all BBWAA ballots cast will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2014. The Induction Ceremony will be held July 27 in Cooperstown. 

Born William Roger Clemens on Aug. 4, 1962, in Dayton, Ohio, the boy who would become “The Rocket” moved to Houston during his high school years and quickly established himself as a pro pitching prospect. 

[Scouting reports on Roger Clemens]

“I was eight playing on a nine-year-old team when I punched out the side on nine pitches,” said Clemens of the first time he knew a big league career was a possibility. “My mother said she knew back then.” 

Clemens was drafted by the Mets in the 12th round of the 1981 MLB Draft, but chose to attend the University of Texas and pitch for the Longhorns. Then in 1983, Clemens was drafted again – this time by the Red Sox as the 19th overall pick in the first round. By 1984, Clemens was in the Red Sox’s rotation – going 9-4 en route to a sixth-place finish in the American League Rookie of the Year balloting. He battled a shoulder injury the following year, but in 1986 Clemens emerged as an ace by going 24-4 with a 2.48 earned-run average, winning the AL Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Awards while leading Boston to the World Series. That same year, Clemens set a record by striking out 20 Mariners in a nine-inning game on April 29, 1986. 

Clemens won his second Cy Young Award the following season with a 20-9 record, captured three straight ERA titles from 1990-92 and won the Cy Young Award again in 1991. But after winning just 40 games in over four seasons from 1993-96, Boston let Clemens leave via free agency. 

Clemens signed with Toronto, and with the Blue Jays in 1997-98 he recaptured his form by winning Cy Young awards both seasons. He also led the league in ERA and strikeouts both years, winning his first two pitching Triple Crowns. 

Just before the 1999 season, the Blue Jays traded Clemens to the Yankees for David Wells, Homer Bush and Graeme Lloyd. In New York, Clemens helped the Yankees win World Series titles in 1999 and 2000, the won his sixth Cy Young Award in 2001 while posting a 20-3 record. 

“That first championship, that’s what you play for at this level,” said Clemens, whose Red Sox teams had made the postseason four times without winning the World Series. 

In 2003, Clemens became just the 21st pitcher in baseball history to record 300 victories. 

Clemens signed with the Astros as a free agent prior to the 2004 season, returning home to win his seventh Cy Young Award that year – then leading the National League with a 1.87 ERA the following season at the age of 42. After partial seasons with the Astros in 2006 and Yankees in 2007, Clemens retired. 

His final numbers: a record of 354-184, with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts. His win total ranks ninth all-time and his strikeout totals trail those of only Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson. 

Year Age Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
1984 21 BOS 9 4 .692 4.32 21 20 0 5 1 0 133.1 146 67 64 13 29 126
1985 22 BOS 7 5 .583 3.29 15 15 0 3 1 0 98.1 83 38 36 5 37 74
1986 23 BOS 24 4 .857 2.48 33 33 0 10 1 0 254.0 179 77 70 21 67 238
1987 24 BOS 20 9 .690 2.97 36 36 0 18 7 0 281.2 248 100 93 19 83 256
1988 25 BOS 18 12 .600 2.93 35 35 0 14 8 0 264.0 217 93 86 17 62 291
1989 26 BOS 17 11 .607 3.13 35 35 0 8 3 0 253.1 215 101 88 20 93 230
1990 27 BOS 21 6 .778 1.93 31 31 0 7 4 0 228.1 193 59 49 7 54 209
1991 28 BOS 18 10 .643 2.62 35 35 0 13 4 0 271.1 219 93 79 15 65 241
1992 29 BOS 18 11 .621 2.41 32 32 0 11 5 0 246.2 203 80 66 11 62 208
1993 30 BOS 11 14 .440 4.46 29 29 0 2 1 0 191.2 175 99 95 17 67 160
1994 31 BOS 9 7 .563 2.85 24 24 0 3 1 0 170.2 124 62 54 15 71 168
1995 32 BOS 10 5 .667 4.18 23 23 0 0 0 0 140.0 141 70 65 15 60 132
1996 33 BOS 10 13 .435 3.63 34 34 0 6 2 0 242.2 216 106 98 19 106 257
1997 34 TOR 21 7 .750 2.05 34 34 0 9 3 0 264.0 204 65 60 9 68 292
1998 35 TOR 20 6 .769 2.65 33 33 0 5 3 0 234.2 169 78 69 11 88 271
1999 36 NYY 14 10 .583 4.60 30 30 0 1 1 0 187.2 185 101 96 20 90 163
2000 37 NYY 13 8 .619 3.70 32 32 0 1 0 0 204.1 184 96 84 26 84 188
2001 38 NYY 20 3 .870 3.51 33 33 0 0 0 0 220.1 205 94 86 19 72 213
2002 39 NYY 13 6 .684 4.35 29 29 0 0 0 0 180.0 172 94 87 18 63 192
2003 40 NYY 17 9 .654 3.91 33 33 0 1 1 0 211.2 199 99 92 24 58 190
2004 41 HOU 18 4 .818 2.98 33 33 0 0 0 0 214.1 169 76 71 15 79 218
2005 42 HOU 13 8 .619 1.87 32 32 0 1 0 0 211.1 151 51 44 11 62 185
2006 43 HOU 7 6 .538 2.30 19 19 0 0 0 0 113.1 89 34 29 7 29 102
2007 44 NYY 6 6 .500 4.18 18 17 0 0 0 0 99.0 99 52 46 9 31 68
24 Yrs 354 184 .658 3.12 709 707 0 118 46 0 4916.2 4185 1885 1707 363 1580 4672

 

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum