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1997: Roger Clemens, Pat Hentgen: Blue Jay All-Star Moments!

Roger Clemens in 1997
Roger Clemens in 1997

Down to number 4 on the our list of top Jay All-Star moments. 14 years ago today, the game was held in Cleveland in the then new Jacobs Field. Cleveland catcher, Roberto's brother, Sandy Alomar, Jr. won the MVP, the first time a player won the All-Star MVP at their home park. The AL won it 3-1.

Back in 1997 we really didn't have a good team, we finished 76-86, 5th in the AL East. On offense we had a mix of players past their prime and players that were trying to establish themselves in the majors. Guys like Joe Carter, Otis Nixon, Orlando Merced, Carlos Garcia and others were playing themselves off the team, while Carlos Delgado, Shawm Green, Alex Gonzalez, Chris Carpenter and others were trying to get their careers going. It would be Cito's last season in his first run with the team, he was let go with 5 games left in the season. 

It is kind of funny that a pretty poor team would be in the middle of a run of winning 3 Cy Young Awards in a row. In 1996 Pat Hentgen won it and then in 1997 and 1998 Roger Clemens won it. It should have seemed a bit funny that Clemens would win it both seasons he played with Toronto after going through a decline period with the Red Sox. Who expected him to go from winning 11, 9, 10 and 10 games, his last four seasons with the Red Sox to win 21 and 20 games with a, not great, Blue Jays team. We know now that he had some help. We should have been able to guess back then. 

Roger Clemens: At break Roger was 13-3, with a 1.69 ERA. He finished the year 21-7, 2.05, 264 innings, 204 hits, 292 strikeouts, 68 walks. He would pick up his 4th Cy Young and be named to his 6th All-Star team. 

Roger didn't start the game, Randy Johnson who was having a pretty good year himself, did. Randy came in second in Cy Young voting. Clemens was the second AL pitcher, getting the 3rd inning in a scoreless game. He got Ray Lankford to ground out. Gave up a single to Jeff Blauser. Then got Craig Biggio and Tony Gwynn to each ground out. He had a .060 WPA.

Pat Hentgen: Pat had won the Cy Young the year before and was having another good year. At the break he was 8-6 with a 3.27 ERA. He finished the year 15-10, 3.68, with 264 innings in 35 starts, 253 hits, 71 walks an 160 strikeouts. Hentgen and Clemens tied for the league lead in innings pitched at 264. Can you imagine getting 628 528 innings out of 2 pitchers? Now a team would be lucky to have two pitchers get them 400 innings. 

Pat pitched the 6th inning with the AL ahead 1-0. He got Craig Biggio to pop out, Tony Gwynn to ground out and Barry Bonds to Fly out. He earned a hold and had a .084 WPA.