The Red Sox don’t have a great history of drafting pitchers but they do get credit for selecting one of the greatest arms the game has ever seen. Roger Clemens was the No. 19 overall pick in 1983 and went on to have a career that should be worthy of Cooperstown.
The Rocket spent the first 13 seasons of his career with the Red Sox. He won three Cy Young awards, four ERA titles and made five All-Star appearances over that span. Clemens also won the AL MVP award in 1986 when he won 24 games with a 2.48 ERA.
Clemens is one of only three pitchers to record 20 strikeouts in a game and the only one to do so twice. Those occasions came a decade apart – April 29, 1986, against the Seattle Mariners and September 18, 1996, against the Detroit Tigers.
During his 24 years in the majors, Clemens piled up 354 wins and 4,672 strikeouts, ranking ninth and third on MLB’s all-time list respectively. 192 of those wins and 2,590 strikeouts came in a Red Sox uniform. He’s the franchise’s all-time leader in strikeouts and tied with Cy Young for the most wins despite spending just over half his career in Boston.
The tail end of Clemens’ career is tainted by the stain of alleged performance-enhancing drug use. He still denies it to this day, yet most around baseball believe Clemens was a steroid user. That’s the only reason he’s not already in Cooperstown, as going strictly by the numbers he should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
There was never any speculation that Clemens was using PEDs during his tenure in Boston. This assumption would seem to be backed up by his fading numbers as he entered his early 30’s. That’s why the Red Sox let him walk away when they felt he was in the “Twilight of his career.”
If you only look at his first 13 clean seasons with the Red Sox, Clemens put together a Hall of Fame resume. The Red Sox inducted him into their own Hall of Fame, recognizing him as one of the best pitchers in franchise history.
Clemens should also be recognized as the best first-round pick the Red Sox have ever made, if not the best draft pick they’ve made in any round.