Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz will be inducted into Cooperstown this weekend. All are deserving guys, and all helped define their generation.
And yet, Roger Clemens – a seven-time CY Young winner, an 11-time All-Star, a four-time wins champion, a seven-time ERA champion, a five-time strikeout champion, a two-time World Series champion, an MVP, and a member of Major League Baseball’s All-Century Team – is on the outside looking in when it comes to the Hall of Fame.
Will that ever change? Clemens doesn’t know.
But he isn’t too preoccupied by it.
“I don’t have a say of it, so I don’t lose sleep over it,” Clemens said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I know what I did in my career, and how I did it, and I did it right. As far as the guys going in, they’re all well-deserved.”
Tiki Barber told Clemens he’s “a Hall of Famer in my book” and asked which team he identifies with the most looking back on his career.
“Well, not to (give) the political answer,” Clemens began. “Obviously Boston is where I got my start and that’s where I got my name the Rocket . . . after I struck out 20. I loved playing in New York and Boston for the fact that I run into fans from all over. But when my boys flip the TV on and they see the black and white photos of Ted Williams running around or Lou Gehrig giving his speech, they’re like, ‘Dad, you got to play right there.’ And I said, ‘I sure did. It’s a great deal of fun.’ My two years in Toronto were fantastic. . . . And then when I retired to come home (to Houston) and pitch three years at an advanced age and have the years that I did at home was fantastic. I mean, I’ve been very fortunate to pitch in two of the most rich history towns as far as Boston and New York. It’s been great. But I got my start in Boston. But I loved my time (in New York). Coming over and playing with Derek and us rocking that town for six, seven years was a great deal of fun.”
Like in the 2000 World Series, when Clemens almost hit Mike Piazza with a shattered bat.
“I was fired up,” Clemens said. “I had great fielding form and motion on that bat coming back at me, and I fielded it perfectly. I whistled it over there in the on-deck circle. I’ve talked to Mike since. We’ve been in a couple golf events. It’s all good. It’s competition, and that’s the way it goes.”
The current Yankees, it is worth noting, are 50-41 and in first place in the AL East. They lead Baltimore by four games, and Alex Rodriguez is a big reason why. The soon-to-be 40-year-old is hitting .277 with 19 home runs, 52 RBIs, 13 doubles and has a .378 OBP.
“Alex is probably one of the biggest guess hitters I’ve ever seen,” Clemens said. “He’ll sit on a pitch and look for that pitch the entire game. Might look awful the first two at-bats and then he’ll hit you a three-run homer late. It’s like anything else. You got to crowd him. When he gets extended, he can do some damage to you, so you got to crowd him. When people talk about pitching inside, you pitch inside to make a 17-inch plate a 24-inch plate, you don’t pitch inside to hit guys and most of the time when you pitch inside, guys can’t double up these days. So most hitters are looking out over. But Alex, when you get around Alex as a teammate, he’s actually a really good guy. Sometimes you think that he’s trying too hard to be liked. But other than that, he’s a good player. He does his homework and I wish the best for him. You just wish guys like that would stay healthy. Again, I think that’s the main thing. You got to stay healthy and feel good about what you’re doing.”