Friday, February 7, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #104 ROGER CLEMENS


GAVE IN TO THE TEMPTATION II.




LIKE BONDS, AGED LIKE FINE JUICE.



DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • How fitting Roger Clemens' Finest card follows #103 Barry Bonds', for they are infamously handcuffed in baseball history. Of course, whether or not they "cheated'' during a time when the sport had no rules against PEDs is a matter of semantics, but what can't be denied is Clemens, like Bonds, was a Hall of Fame talent beforehand. Rocket is ninth all-time in wins with 354, third in strikeouts with 4,672 and won a record seven Cy Youngs. 

DEFINING MOMENT

  • Clemens announced his presence on April 29, 1986, at Fenway Park when he set the major-league record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game. Facing a weak Mariners' team, Clemens struck out 20 and walked none in a three-hit 3-1 victory. Gorman Thomas homered in the seventh for Seattle's only run. Clemens concluded April with his fourth victory in a season that would end with him winning 24 games and the Cy Young and MVP awards.

DEFINING SEASON

  • In '97, his first year with the Blue Jays after Red Sox GM Dan Duquette said he was entering the "twilight of his career,'' Clemens won his fourth Cy Young with a spectacular comeback season. After Boston let him walk following a four-year run of averaging 10 wins, a 3.77 ERA and an ERA+ of 130, Clemens won 21 games with a 2.05 ERA. He led the majors with 264 innings, a career-high 292 strikeouts and an ERA+ of 222.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. An All-American in two seasons for the Texas Longhorns, Clemens went 25-7 and helped them win the NCAA title in '83.
  2. Clemens was drafted by the Mets in '81 before choosing college.
  3. Matched his 20-K tour de force on Sept. 18, 1996, against the Tigers.
  4. Won 83 games with the Yankees in two stops totaling six seasons, pitching for the '99 and '00 World Series champs.
  5. Indicted for lying to Congress about his PED use, but in '12 he was declared not guilty on six counts.

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