Former major league pitcher Roger Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young winner and 11-time All-Star, was in Oklahoma City on Monday with the Astros caravan. Clemens, who won 354 games and finished with a career 3.12 ERA, is a special assistant to Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow.
Q: What type of experiences from your 24-year career do you try to pass along to today's players?
I like bringing the intangibles. I tell them a great story. My grandma and my mother put $100 in my back pocket when I was 21 years old and pointed to the hitter and said, ‘That guy's trying to take away your livin'.' That's the way you approach it when you get there. Feel like you belong, take the next step and then go out and bring some great enjoyment to the fans coming to watch you.
What was it like being a key negotiator for the Astros when they made their proposal to Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who later signed with the Yankees for $155 million?
I enjoyed doing that. It was a great meeting. I think we caught him a little off guard. He had just gotten in from Japan. We were the first club to meet with them. I think he was very impressed. One of his agents I know called after he signed and said the Astros made a great impression on him.
Word association. Hall of Fame?
I have some cool pieces there already. When we go play in the Little Dreamstown park I take the team by and the Hall of Fame guys are awesome. They pull out some of my 20-strikeout stuff and my cleats, things I'm kind of glad they have because some of my memorabilia that I've kept over the years I didn't keep out of the sunlight and has faded.
Your thoughts on some day being enshrined in Cooperstown?
I've already made comments on that (in the past). It's something you don't have any control over.
When dealing with players, what does your role entail?
It's a little bit of everything. Some of it is a one-on-one phone conversation or a text ... When I sit in front of them I kind of smile. I know where they are at that stage of their careers. It's very exciting right now. They want to win and we have an owner who wants to win.