William Roger Clemens (born August 4, 1962), nicknamed "Rocket", is a retired American baseball pitcher who played 24 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for four teams. Clemens was one of the most dominant pitchers in major league history, tallying 354 wins, a 3.12 earned run average (ERA), and 4,672 strikeouts, the third-most all time. An 11-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion, he won seven Cy Young Awards during his career, the most of any pitcher in history. Clemens was known for his fierce competitive nature and hard-throwing pitching style, which he used to intimidate batters.
Clemens debuted in the major leagues in 1984 with the Boston Red Sox, whose pitching staff he anchored for 12 years. In 1986, he won the American League (AL) Cy Young Award, the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award, and the All-Star Game MVP Award, and he struck out an MLB-record 20 batters in a single game. After the 1996 season, Clemens left Boston via free agency and joined the Toronto Blue Jays. In each of his two seasons with Toronto, Clemens won a Cy Young Award, as well as the pitching triple crown by leading the league in wins, ERA, and strikeouts. Prior to the 1999 season, Clemens was traded to the New York Yankees where he won his two World Series titles. In 2003, he reached his 300th win and 4,000th strikeout in the same game. Clemens left for the Houston Astros in 2004, where he spent three seasons and won his seventh Cy Young Award. He rejoined the Yankees in 2007 for one last season before retiring.
Clemens was alleged by the Mitchell Report to have used anabolic steroids during his late career, mainly based on testimony given by his former trainer Brian McNamee. Clemens firmly denied these allegations under oath before Congress, leading congressional leaders to refer his case to the Justice Department on suspicions of perjury. On August 19, 2010, a federal grand jury at the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., indicted Clemens on six felony counts involving perjury, false statements and obstruction of Congress. Clemens pleaded not guilty, but proceedings were complicated by prosecutorial misconduct, leading to a mistrial. The verdict from his second trial came in on June 18, 2012. Clemens was found not guilty on all six counts of lying to Congress in 2008.
By Dean Hanley