Roger Clemens birthday today. He’s 58.
He had the best season ever for a Blue Jays pitcher by bWAR (11.9) and the third best season (8.1, Pat Hentgen got in there with a 8.6).
He was part of teams that under-performed. The team got old, the manager was loyal to players who aged quickly, and, though it might not be true, the narrative guy in me can’t shake the feeling that we had a group of players who were in it for themselves (for the most part).
Clemens might very well be the poster child for in it for himself. He gets caught having PEDs shipped to his house, he blames his wife. For me that’s unforgivable.
Anyway, Clemens won back-to-back Cy Youngs. In the two seasons he was 41-13 with a 2.33 ERA. Made 67 starts, completed 14 of them and threw 498.2 innings.
It was a small part of a Hall of Fame type career. 354 wins (9th in MLB history). 709 games, 707 starts. 4916.2 innings. 4672 strikeouts. 139.2 bWAR (8th among pitchers).
Roger had an Hall of Fame career before he came to Toronto, but he had a couple of down seasons in a row. The Red Sox decided he wasn’t worth the money he was going to get. So he had a bit of a chip on his shoulders when he came to Toronto. The polite way to say it was that he refocused himself on his fitness. The honest way to say it is that he found PEDs.
Roger really should be in the Hall of Fame. But if I had a vote I don’t think I could bring myself to vote for him. Ignoring the PEDs he was a creep. There are no end of storyies but then include throwing at Mike Piazza, with both a ball and a bat (or part of a bat) and the was the affair with a, then, under-aged, future country singer, Mindy McCready.
His son was in the Jays minor league system for a bit, he was playing Independent Ball last year.
I did like the commercials the Jays had with Clemens (Dan and Buck looked young):