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making the pitch for clemens

So Roger Clemens is thinking about boycotting his inevitable Hall of Fame induction if they don't put him in as a Yankee.


He played 13 seasons with the Red Sox, two with Toronto and is finishing up his career in his fifth season as a Yankee. That's 192 of his career 300 career wins with Boston.

And this is Clemens in a nutshell. His reasons for not wanting to go in as a Red Sox player is his anger at the way GM Dan Duquette treated him.

What about the fans, Roger? What about the people who spent 13 seasons cheering for you, watching you, paying your salary?

Of his six Cy Young Awards, three were won in Boston, two in Toronto and one with the Yankees.

His MVP award ('86) was won in Boston.

When he led the league in strikeouts twice, it was with Boston both times.When he led the league with the low ERA of 1.93, he was a Red Sox player.

His two 20 strikeout games? Boston.

The bulk of the achievements that make Clemens a Hall of Fame candidate were made while he was wearing a Red Sox cap. He should pay homage to that by being enshrined in the hall wearing that cap. His vendetta against Duquette is a personal one, and he shouldn't let that stand in the way of his doing the right thing by Red Sox fans.

Yes, my vendetta against Clemens himself is a personal one. I hate the fact that he wears the Yankee pinstripes at all and I certainly don't want to see him in the Hall as a member of the Yankees. But that's an aside, a petty one at that. It's a serious slap in the face to the people of Boston to do anything but accept his entrance into the Hall in the cap with a B on it.

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» http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/002025.html from OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY
Michele is angry about Roger Clemens' announcement that he will boycott his own Hall of Fame induction ceremony if he is enshrined with a Red... [Read More]

» Clemens' Hat from Baseball Musings
Michele offers her thoughts on the Clemens Hall of Fame hat. Also, be sure to read the excellent comments.... [Read More]

» Red Sox Clash With Pinstripes from DiVERSiONZ
Roger Clemons is causing controversy by telling the Hall of Fame that he won't show up for his commencement into [Read More]

» Clemens And The Hall from The Daily Rant
Michele believes Roger Clemens should show a little respect to Red Sox fans and graciously accept going into the Hall [Read More]

Comments

But he won his two World Series rings and his last 100-odd games with the Yankees. It's been a long time since he wore a Red Sox unie and is now identified by most casual fans as a Yankee.

Generally, I'd say a player should have the right to choose his cap, with the HOF having a veto power over any obviously unreasonable choice. Clemens going in as a Yankee isn't unreasonable.

The most meaningful reason I've heard to support Clemens going into the HOF in a Yankees hat is that Red Sox fans hate him. They boo him at every opportunity, and I really don't see that changing with his retirement.

I think the Red Sox bitterness is 3-fold. One, they think of him as a traitor for leaving in the first place, doubly so for eventually winding up in NY with their bitter rivals, the Yankees. Second I think they resent his renaissance with Toronto and continued success with the Yankees. The reason Duquette failed to re-sign Clemens was the perception that his best days were behind him. Maybe Clemens got complacent, who knows, but his dominance hardly ended in Boston. Based on that, I think the Sox' fans resent him not continuing his success at the end of his Red Sox career, thus earning him another contract, at which point he would still be in Boston. Third and finally, I think Red Sox fans hate him for getting 2 World Series rings with NY. The curse of the bambino is the ultimate insult to Red Sox fans, and Clemens turned traitor and won 2 World Series with NY instead of Boston.

Now, maybe all will be forgiven when he retired, but knowing insufferable Red Sox fans as I do, I doubt it. Basically they are bitter, resentful fans, that are self-loathing. Now they can direct some of their venom at Clemens. They ought to appreciate what they did get from Clemens while he was there, and Michele listed them quite well. But despite all that success, all they can remember is that he left and had equal success with Toronto and the Yankees. And really, it's not so much Clemens' fault as it is the Red Sox GM, Duquette. If I were Clemens, I would say the same thing, "Screw the Red Sox and their stupid band of idiot fans". I'm sure if the fans had any class at all, it wouldn't be an issue.

He basically said that he became a Hall of Famer in NY, which is probably partly true. If I had to be honest, though, that would have come in a Blue Jay uniform. If his career had continued to decline when he signed with Toronto, he probably would have still been a HOFer. But 2 years in Toronto - a bad team - and 2 more Cy Young awards basically cemented him as a HOFer, and earned the trade to NY, for a beloved guy in Boomer Wells, who had a magical season the previous year. He hasn't quite been as great in NY, but he didn't have to be, either.

Let him go in wearing an old-fashioned baby bonnet with a pacifier in his mouth. Otherwise, he can hang around outside for all eternity with Pete Rose shining his shoes.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I am almost certain that players get to choose which cap they're depicted in...Carlton Fisk chose to be depicted in a Red Sox cap, even though he played more games for the White Sox. Although the Red Sox did some major kissing up to him just before he was elected, while the White Sox treated him like crap.

players arent allowed to pick what team they go in under anymore: You can thank another great sox player, Wade Boggs for that. When he went in as a Devil Ray the HOF said enough is enough, we pick for you if you cant make a normal decision.

Clemens won his rings in NY. He won his 300th game in NY. He should go in as a Yankee.

I think the HOF took away the choice of hat based on more than Wade Boggs. Basically, teams started trying to bribe players going into the HOF to choose their cap. I suppose that could have been the case with Tampa Bay and Boggs, although Tampa Bay would be better off spending their money on their team for a change.

I disagree with you. Boston had 13 years to build a championship team with arguably the best pitcher in the game and they couldn't do it...although they came close but paid the price for not having a better defending first baseman at first late in Game 6 vs the Mets.

The Red Sox are a living train wreck that, like the Cubs, we all seem to enjoy watching crash in a fiery mess and kill their fans by ripping out their hearts every year. Who would want to go in wearing loser gear like that anyway.

Sure he spent 13 years there. That doesn't mean he owes them anything. He was a good pitcher IN SPITE of that loser organization. Imagine had he been with the Yankees or a team that knew how to win all along?

Let's say you were told by your boss that you weren't worthy of working at that place anymore, would you go around wearing that companies gear and asked to be buried in it? I think not.

And as far as the fans, oh well. The fans choose they want to be Red Sox fans, if you ask me they should have given up on that franchise after the franchise gave up on Roger. Babe Ruth was the first unforgiveable mistake, Roger should have been the final straw.

And who does the Hall of Fame people think they are really. Wasn't it Roger that went out and earned the right to be there, why shouldn't he get to say how he wants to be represented. Actually, he doesn't really care--he just says he won't show up for the big commencement shin dig--is that so unforgiveable?

I think Roger has plenty of reasons to not want anything to do with the Red Sox--aside from that former GM idot Dan Duquette who I believe has since been run out of town as he should have been years ago. So why should Roger Clemons have to be remembered FOREVER as a Red Sock player?

Besides, we all know the NY is much more a symbol of winning and excellence. Put your stuff with Roger aside. He won championships with NY, not with Boston, and he went on to earn hall of fame numbers while away from Boston--after they basically thought he was washed up.

I could see them being wrong about Roger for a season or maybe two, but he has maintained his level of play far past that (going on 7 now)...I think that earns him the right to thumb his nose at the BoSox.

Besides, any team that has a player in the hall that is currently frozen and hanging upside down in Arizona somewhere (Ted Williams), should never have another player allowed in the Hall again.

Mark my words, the BoSox will blow it someday with Nomar too.

It would be interesting for someone like Clemens to say "you want to put me in a Boston hat? You can't use my likeness without my permission, so feel free to put my name in there, but not the face".

The Hall Of Fame is not MLB, so it doesn't have a contractual right to the use of his likeness.

I'm a lifelong Red Sox fan - the Yankees can have Clemens. Clemens signed the largest contract in baseball history at the time, and then proceeded to average 12 wins per year over the three year life of the contract. It was hard to not think that Clemens best years were behind him at that point. Once he signed with Toronto he apparently rediscovered physical fitness in the offseason and regained his form. Also, if we had resigned Clemens we would never have been able to afford Pedro.

Y'know, for all that Sox fans are bitter about things (and boy, do we have a lot to be bitter about), the Yankee fans in this comments threat are truly amusing.

First, to address peat. So because John Henry Williams is a money-grubbing bastard, who stuck his dad into deep freeze, this should reflect poorly on the Sox why, exactly? This is the same person that, when the Sox were honoring Teddy Ballgame at the All-Star game in Fenway made sure that there was a "hitter.net" ballcap on Ted's head, not a Sox cap.

Seocnd, to address Sherard. The things that make Sox fans angry isn't that he went to the Yankees, though it does make for good griping material. The things that anger the Sox fans are that a) Roger didn't seem to care too much for the Fenway Faithful when they were there, cheering him on and paying his salary (witness the "Nobody carries my luggage" whine), and b) he had been steadily declining his last few years at Boston, and suddenly his first year with Toronto he goes 21-7, 2.05 for a team that went 76-86. In comparison, his last few years with the Sox:

1993 11-14, 4.46 (80-82)
1994 9-7, 2.85 (54-61)
1995 10-5, 4.18 (86-58)
1996 10-13, 3.63 (85-77)

His last four years were inconsistent and not too stellar, on teams that were at a few points roughly equal to what he had his first year in Toronto (and the second year at Toronto, when they won the AL East), yet in his last four years in Boston he didn't have a record anywhere close to what he did in Toronto. From where I sit, the numbers make a good case for Roger slowly slacking off until, when he didn't get the payday that he wanted (because he was giving no indication of being the caliber of pitcher that he was, when the Sox on a couple of occasions made him among the top paid players in MLB.

For bonus points, also check out his playoff record when he was with the Sox -- hardly an inspiring showing in the post season, either.

Yep, well said fellow Red Sox fans. I certainly don't want to see him in a Red Sox cap ever again after all we've been through with Clemens. The bad far outweighs the good. (And I don't like his wife either: www.debbieclemens.com)

Correction to my earlier message; Clemens has only won 67 games with the Yankees, a little under a quarter of his career total.

Ok, I am not a huge Roger Clemons guy anyway either, but I do like the Yanks. So Red Sox fans, I apologize for the ribbing...

But to keep this good topic alive and well here's my basic question...Was Roger a LOCK for the Hall when he was let go by the Red Sox, statistically speaking? Did he have enough at that time for a first-ballot slam-dunk guaranteed pass to the Hall? I think it is debateable, don't you? I mean there are a lot of players and pitchers with heady numbers that are not in the hall or did not make it in on their first few tries. So what if Roger had retired at that point, believing that he was as the Red Sox seemed to suggest "washed-up"? Would he be in for sure? Would he be first ballot for sure? I don't think we can say yes or no for sure. So what he has done the past few years have definately helped.

Plus, he straightened out the post-season numbers with the Yanks, got his championships, which always help in ballot considerations, with the Yankees, got three more Cy Young Awards and suprassed 300 wins and 3000 strikeouts. Sure they Yankees line-up and front office prowess helped, maybe that is why he wants to go in as a Yankee.

Had he retired when Boston thought he was done, who knows, maybe this whole debate would be a non-issue because he might not have had enough to get in.

Thanks for the debate Sox Fans, and for the forum Michele.

In this situation making Roger go into the Hall wearing a Red Sox hat is like God making you spend eternity in heaven with your first spouse even if you love your current spouse a hundred times more.

He felt shit on when he left the team and he feels shit on now by their fans.

He doesn't want them and I am pretty sure they don't want him.

What's the problem?

Look, the HOF is a museum, and the curators of the museum should have the right to control the exhibits. Ultimately, it should be the HOF's decision, not Clemens'.

As someone with no axe to grind, I think both sides need to just grow up. Clemens was a great pitcher, but appeared to be on the decline so the management of his team made a decision not to bring him back. It happens. Maybe this was the kick in the pants Clemens' needed, so he got himself back on track and reeled off some more great seasons. Good for him.

In a historical context, Clemens belongs with the Red Sox - it's not even a close decision. Both Clemens and Red Sox fans need to bury the hatchet and leave the bitterness behind. True greatness does not occur often, and it is a real shame that it is tainted by the petulance of both parties.

To my mind, it just depends on what the exact rule is. If the rule is that MLB gets to determine what team players go in under based on where the bulk of their accomplishments occurred, then Clemens shouldn't get any special treatment. If MLB picks the Sox and Clemens is childish enough to boycott the ceremony, then so be it.

If there's not a clear-cut rule, however, and if some players' wishes have been followed under the current rules (I don't know the answer), then I'd say let him have his Yankee cap.

I'm amazed that Clemens even took the bait and answered a question about this. It's five years in the future fer cryin' out loud!

I think Clemens has played long enough with the Yanks and performed well enough during that span so that his preference will be honored by the Hall. As I understand the rule, the Hall allows a player to state a preference but reserves the right to overrule it. I doubt that will happen in this case, especially since Boston's fans (and sportswriters) have been less than charitable towards him for quite some time.

One last point for peat. I'm a Yankee fan like you, but I don't get your comment about imagining how well Clemens would have done had he been with the Yanks in the '80's. Boston and the Yanks were more or less even in wins during Clemens tenure with the Boston, and he went to the WS with them in '86. The Yanks began to spiral down around that time and didn't re-emerge until '94. Overall it's seems unlikely that he would have received more run support (and won more games) during that time had he been with the Yankees.

Trade him to the Cubs.

Better yet, get some pictures of him gambling with Pete Rose. Problem solved!

Let me just add my two cents as a member of the Red Sox nation (even have the tattoo, which I'll show you if you ask nicely).

Roger Clemens is an ass, and frankly, I'd rather he not go in as a member of the Red Sox. He has no respect for the fans of the Red Sox, so let him go in as a Yankee.

On the other hand, I think it would be great if the HoF put a Red Sox hat on his plaque, just to piss the fat bastard off.

Meanwhile, I get to go to Dallas to see Red Sox/Rangers late next month. I'm also hoping to catch a game in Boston in September. Anybody want to join me? :)

They should make him go in as a Red Sox because it will have the double benefit of pissing off both Roger and Red Sox fans. Who could ask for anything more?

Cam,
I've got tickets at Fenway on Sept 14 - vs the White Sox. See you there :) Coincidently, I'm headed to the HOF the next day!

Y'know, after thinking about it last night, a couple of things occurred to me.

First, the practice of using a team's cap on a plaque when the enter the Hall is something of an antiquated practice, in this era of players moving from team to team -- the last players to spend a career with one team will most likely be Gwynn and Ripken, Jr.

Second, if any team should be picked for Roger, I'd argue that it should be the Blue Jays cap. If he didn't put up the numbers he did with Toronto, then most likely the Yankees don't come calling, he pitches another couple of years and then retires, and becomes the answer to a trivia question (Name the only pitcher to strike out 20 batters in one game twice in his career). If it weren't for those two Toronto seasons, he would have been remembered like Jim Rice -- a great ballplayer that faded horribly at the end of his career, and remembered more for his decline then his heyday.

Wade Boggs is a good point of reference for this argument. What cap should he wear? I think it is obvious that he should wear a Red Sox hat (by the way he is not in yet, not eligible until next year). His career is very similar to Clemens, best years in Boston, established as a lock HOFer in New York, and two years with another team. He wants to go in as a Devil Ray (due to financial considerations), but he will go in as a Red Sox, because that is where his Hall of Fame credentials were built. Another way to look at it is this, if you took just Clemens' stats from while he was in NY would he even be considered as a HOFer?

Steve is correct. Clemens would be considered a borderline Hall of Fame player if he'd quit after his Red Sox years, and he might have slipped in with his 192 wins, three Cy Young awards, MVP award, etc. His 70 wins as a Yankee cinch the HoF for him, but alone they wouldn't get him anywhere near the door. I sympathize with Roger's frustration with the Sox, but the Hall is a museum, and it should be devoted to the facts, rather than to the desires of the players or the fans.

I live in Boston, and have watched many, many games both on TV and at Fenway over the past 10 years. I saw Clemens pitch multiple times during these "twilight" years, and I just want to clarify something: he was frequently DOMINANT, and repeatedly let down by both terrible defence and/or a crappy bullpen. Take a look at opposing batter averages against him during this time, or k's/9 innings ... and certainly in both 1994 and 1996 he was FAR better than his won-loss record would indicate. The smart baseball analysts take these into consideration when evaluating talent, and it seemed to me that Duquette was just blinded by his dislike for the guy. So I can understand how Clemens feels, and this is hardly improved by the reception the fans here give him when he pitches at
Fenway! Its embarrassing to sit in the stands and listen to us Bostonians boo one of the greatest players in baseball history.

I'm a former New Yorker and lifelong Yanks fan living in Boston, and I say that aside from all the other arguments, there's one iron-clad reason why he goes in as a Yankee. Never mind the championships. If any of you saw the way the Sox fans booed, taunted and harrassed - not Roger, but HIS FAMILY IN THE STANDS whenever NY is in town - you'd know why the Rocket refuses to wear their cap. Good for him.

Personally, I can't stand the son of a bitch, and I'm not up on my HOF rules and regulations. As a lifetime NYer, I'm both a Mets and Yanks fan. He's a talented pitcher, no doubt about it, but he's an arrogant prick as well. I hated him on the Sox. Although I'm glad he wins for the Yanks, I still have very little respect for him as a person, but there's no denying his skills. But if he wants to go into the HOF as a Yankee, that's his prerogative. He proved himself in pinstripes, regardless. The HOF isn't about attitude. It's about skill, isn't it?

And Peat - the '86 WS was NOT lost by Buckner. The guy made one crucial error and he's crucified for life. God forbid anyone remember his contributions. Not to mention, that was game 6. What happened to game 7? Did Buckner lose that all by himself, too?

Reminds me of poor Scott Norwood of the Buffalo Bills. He missed a crucial field goal. Buffalo lost. But hello - what happened to the other 59 minutes of the game? What if Kelly made a few more completions? What if Mr. Ego, Bruce Smith made a couple more tackles or sacks? (Mind you, I've been a Giants fan since I was 4!)

ok, I feel better now.