BOSTON (AP) — Roger Clemens took advantage of his induction into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame to throw batting practice to two of his sons on the field at Fenway Park. Then, it was off to Chicago to see another son play in a high school All-America game at Wrigley Field.
But at no point in his busy schedule, the seven-time Cy Young winner said, does he spend any time worrying about whether he will eventually gain election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
"If it happens, it happens. It's not going to change me as a person," Clemens said at Fenway on Thursday morning. "It's not why I played the game. When I was out there and I was doing it, I did it to the best of my ability, and I worked my tail off."
Clemens was inducted into the Red Sox hall during a lunchtime ceremony along with Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra and longtime broadcaster Joe Castiglione. They were recognized on the field during a 20-minute ceremony that included highlights and prerecorded speeches played on the center-field scoreboard before Thursday night's game against the Houston Astros.
Clemens received a polite applause from the crowd, while Garciaparra and Martinez were given rousing ovations. The four received plaques and stood at the edge of the mound before throwing out ceremonial first pitches. Martinez was given an additional plaque commemorating his 17-strikeout, one-hitter in Yankee Stadium on Sept. 10, 1999.
But it is the celebration of the hard-throwing Texan that has attracted the most attention, bringing him back to the organization that drafted him out of college and helped him develop into a star. Clemens pitched 13 years in Boston, winning his first three Cy Young Awards and as many games in a Red Sox uniform as Cy Young himself.
In 1996, though, he had a bitter split with the team and signed as a free agent with the Toronto Blue Jays — earning the Cy Young in both his seasons there — and he seemed to seal the divorce when he went to the reviled New York Yankees. His returns to Boston were great theater, with the local fans turning on their onetime hero in favor of newcomers — including Martinez.
When he retired, Clemens had amassed 354 wins, and his 4,672 strikeouts are third in baseball history. His seven coronations as the top pitcher in the AL is also unprecedented; he also won the 1986 AL MVP, and twice struck out a record 20 batters in a game.
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