Red Sox: What if Roger Clemens never left in free agency?

Houston Astros former players Jeff Bagwell (left) and Roger Clemens (right) throw out a ceremonial first pitch before a game against the Kansas City Royals at Minute Maid Park.
Houston Astros former players Jeff Bagwell (left) and Roger Clemens (right) throw out a ceremonial first pitch before a game against the Kansas City Royals at Minute Maid Park. /
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Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports /

Verdict?

Roger “The Rocket” Clemens will go down as one of the greatest to ever pitch in the game of baseball. Was it a mistake for not signing him? It’s highly debated. I would say yes it was a mistake letting him walk only because I envision a rotation that had both Clemens and Martinez in it? That sounds lethal.

There were allegations of steroid abuse which many believe to have been true and the fact that his name was mentioned over 80 times in the now famous Mitchell Report didn’t help his case. While also being named by several teammates and books as a performance enhancing user and labeled as a “cheater,” Roger Clemens still lasted in the game for many years.

Hated by many teams, especially the ones that never had him play for them, and embraced by many fan bases, he certainly filled seats and at the end of the day he made history in several ways before his alleged drug use. No one can take away his 20 strikeout performances, his 7 Cy Young Awards, and no one can take away his two World Series Championships Titles with the Yankees.

Clemens’ Career Numbers

Seasons – 24
ERA – 3.12
Wins – 354
Losses – 184
Innings Pitched – 4,916 2/3
Strike Outs – 4,672
Complete Games – 118
Shut Outs – 46

I think the Sox would have loved his production in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and after everything was said and done, he could have been a part of the first team to break the curse for the Red Sox in 86 years when the won it in 2004 and then again in 2007. Chasing titles has it’s perks but not at the cost of potentially selling your soul to get there.

Clemens was important during a time when baseball was dying and with the strike, few players had great followings. Clemens was one of the few and while his era is now over, we may never see anyone like him again. Winning back to back Cy Youngs? Possible. Winning a Cy Young with two different teams? Possible. Three teams? Unlikely. Four teams? Impossible.

Next: What if Red Sox never acquired Carl Everett?

What are the odds that we see another pitcher get 4,500 strike outs? Clemens finished 3rd all time with 4,672 strike outs. The world may never see another Roger Clemens again and we should be blessed to have seen him pitch for as long as he did.

Stay tuned for the next “What If” article coming out in two weeks.