Magazine article Newsweek

Rocket Redux; Batters Beware: Roger Clemens Is the Best Pitcher in Baseball-Again

Magazine article Newsweek

Rocket Redux; Batters Beware: Roger Clemens Is the Best Pitcher in Baseball-Again

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Starr

It was definitely not baseball business as usual. The Houston Astros were playing the Cardinals in St. Louis, but their ace, Roger Clemens, was 650 miles away in Dallas tossing batting practice to an all-star team of teenagers that included his oldest son, Koby. After two days cheering on the Texas Heat, Clemens flew home to Houston to hang briefly with his three other boys. Then it was on to Seattle where, two nights later, Clemens blanked the Mariners, 1-0, running his season's record to 9-0. "All in all, it's been going OK," says the 41-year-old.

We should all be doing so "OK." The apparently ageless Clemens now leads the major leagues in both wins and earned run average and is a lock to start the All-Star Game next month. Not bad for a guy who retired last fall--after 20 seasons and 310 career victories with the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Yankees--intent on devoting himself to his four sons, ages 8, 9, 15 and 17. He especially wanted to spend time on the baseball diamond with the two older boys. "I made promises to the boys, 'cause I'm gonna blink and they'll be gone down the road," he says.

To lure Clemens out of retirement, the Astros made a promise of their own: the six-time Cy Young Award winner would get the chance to both pitch and parent. His occasional absences from the Astros dugout are possible because of an unprecedented deal offered by the ballclub; he could skip road trips when he wasn't scheduled to pitch and spend time with his family. …

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