There is not an athlete in my lifetime I have had a greater love/hate relationship with than Roger Clemens.
As a kid I was glued to my AM radio that night in April 1986 when Clemens mowed down 20 Seattle Mariners.
What a season that was! 24-4. Cy Young. World Series appearance.
He struck out twenty Tigers for Boston ten years later.
Rocket’s Sox career: 192 wins, an ERA just over 3.00 and three CY Youngs. How is his number not retired at Fenway?
Back in the day my MDI baseball coach used to tell the Trojan pitchers Clemens had the perfect form. Model it he would instruct.
I was sad when he left the Sox for Toronto. I was lucky enough to see him pitch at SkyDome for the Blue Jays. 41-13 in two seasons there. Two more Cy Youngs. Holy.
I cursed his name and chanted “Rooooger!” from my living room as Pedro beat Roger and the Yanks in game three of the ALCS in 1999. I was pissed when he won a World Series in New York there while our long drought continued in New England.
I wanted him banned from baseball and thrown in jail during the steroids hearings in Congress.
But I’ve mellowed. I enjoy hearing him on Red Sox broadcasts from time to time. I now argue on my radio show that it’s just silly he is not in the Hall of Fame. It needs to be fixed.
Today I love him enough to give him a kiss since he has agreed to come to Bangor to take part in a Sports Chowdah baseball night March 16.
The price tag is high for a small company like mine. High? No. Massive. But I bet you didn’t know every penny of it goes to his foundation.
The Roger Clemens Foundation is an entity dedicated to helping children. It was established in 1992 and supports numerous organizations including Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Variety Clubs International, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Make A Wish Foundation, The Jimmy Fund, Sunshine Kids, Periwinkle Foundation, and the National Paralysis Foundation.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get to spend a day with him, let alone host a 90 minute question and answer session with him.
In my mind he is probably the best pitcher in the history of the game. 354 wins. 7 CY Young Awards. 24 seasons.
And I am proud that the Sports Chowdah is bringing him here to the great Red Sox and baseball fans of Maine. It will be memorable, just like everything he did on the field.