Clemens, Roger

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Clemens, Roger

Roger Clemens (William Roger Clemens) (klĕm´ənz), 1962–, American baseball player, b. Dayton, Ohio. Noted for his competitive fire and nicknamed "Roger the Rocket," Clemens became one of baseball's great power pitchers. After starring at the Univ. of Texas, he joined (1984) the Boston Red Sox as a starting pitcher. In 1986 he was the American League's Most Valuable Player, and won the league's Cy Young Award (the first of a record seven), with a 24–4 won-lost record, a 2.48 earned run average, and a record 20 strikeouts in one nine-inning game (a feat he repeated in 1996).

He moved (1997) to Toronto and then pitched (1999–2003) for the New York Yankees. Clemens led the league in earned run average in 1986, 1990–92, and 1997–98, and in strikeouts five times. Postponing a planned retirement, he joined (2004–6) the Houston Astros, and won his seventh Cy Young Award in 2004; the following year, at the age of 43, he had the best earned run average (1.87) in major-league baseball. In 2007 he again played for the Yankees, and then retired with 354 season wins, 4,672 season strikeouts, and a record 22 seasons with 100 or more stikeouts.

His reputation was severely tarnished in 2007 when a commission chaired by George J. Mitchell implicated him in the use of performance-enhancing drugs, an accusation Clemens adamantly denied. In 2010 he was indicted on federal perjury charges relating to his 2008 testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, in which he again denied using such drugs. His first trial ended in a mistrial (2011); he was acquitted in 2012.

See study by T. Thompson et al. (2009).

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