Friday, April 29, 2016

Thirty Years of Roger Clemens



Thirty years ago today I was introduced to a guy named Roger Clemens.  He would beat the Mariners 3-1 that night in front of just 13,000 fans at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox would move to 10-8 on the season but the big story was how Clemens won the game. He would pitch 9 innings, give up just 3 hits, 1 run and oh yeah...he would strike out 20 batters.
Clemens would raise his record to 4-0. He would win his next ten decisions to start the season 14-0. He would eventually win the AL Cy Young and the AL MVP that season. As for the Red Sox, they would do pretty well too. 1986 was a special season as the Red Sox  would go on to win the AL East and the ALCS and of course would come just an out away from being World Champions.
It all started 30 years ago. The Red Sox had not won more than 90 games in a season since 1979 which was also the last season Fenway had drawn more than two million fans. 1986 changed everything and in particular that cold night in late April.
Despite the lousy attendance that night, the Red Sox would draw just over two million fans to Fenway in 1986. The Red Sox have never drawn less than two million fans to Fenway in a full season since. Red Sox fans like to believe the ballpark has always been sold out and full of life. That was not always the case.
Roger Clemens was my favorite player as a child. There was nobody better in my eyes. Ten years later he would leave the Red Sox and I would blame Dan Duquette. He would dominate with the Blue Jays and my hate for Duquette would grow stronger. I was slow to embrace Pedro Martinez because he wasn't Roger Clemens.
Roger would then put on the pinstripes and my stomach turned. Stories would come out about his steroid use and his explanations were just moronic. The 11 year old boy inside of me was proven wrong. I blasted Roger in this blog post. I called him The Texas Con Man, a phrase that Will McDonough used for Clemens while he was playing for the Red Sox. I hated McDonough for it as a kid and I hated myself for now agreeing with him.
I continued to blast my boyhood hero in this blog post, I understand the hate for him. However, the 11 year old inside of me can't help but look at the date today and smile. Is it time to forgive him? Is it time to retire his number? Maybe not, but it is time to give him his due. He dominated in Boston and he dominated 30 years ago tonight. The Red Sox Renaissance started with him on April 29th, 1986.  You have to at least tip your Red Sox cap in his direction for that!
Here is the inning by inning breakdown of that historic game back on April 29, 1986
Starting Lineups:

   Seattle Mariners              Boston Red Sox           
1. Owen                ss        Evans               rf
2. P. Bradley          lf        Boggs               3b
3. Phelps              1b        Buckner             dh
4. Thomas              dh        Rice                lf
5. Presley             3b        Baylor              1b
6. Calderon            rf        Gedman              c
7. Tartabull           2b        Barrett             2b
8. Henderson           cf        Lyons               cf
9. Yeager              c         Hoffman             ss
   Moore               p         Clemens             p

MARINERS 1ST: Owen struck out; P. Bradley struck out; Phelps
struck out; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Mariners 0, Red Sox 0.

RED SOX 1ST: Evans struck out; Boggs grounded out (shortstop to
first); Buckner flied out to center; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. 
Mariners 0, Red Sox 0.

MARINERS 2ND: Thomas lined to left; Presley struck out; Calderon
was called out on strikes; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Mariners 0,
Red Sox 0.

RED SOX 2ND: Rice flied out to right; Baylor singled; Gedman
grounded out (second to first) [Baylor to second]; Barrett flied
out to center; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Mariners 0, Red Sox 0.

MARINERS 3RD: Tartabull grounded out (second to first);
Henderson was called out on strikes; Yeager flied out to center;
0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Mariners 0, Red Sox 0.

RED SOX 3RD: Lyons flied out to center; Hoffman struck out;
Evans singled; Boggs flied out to left; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. 
Mariners 0, Red Sox 0.

MARINERS 4TH: Owen singled; P. Bradley struck out; Phelps struck
out; Baylor dropped a foul fly hit by Thomas for an error;
Thomas was called out on strikes; 0 R, 1 H, 1 E, 1 LOB. 
Mariners 0, Red Sox 0.

RED SOX 4TH: Buckner grounded out (shortstop to first); Rice
singled; Baylor struck out while Rice was caught stealing second
(catcher to second); 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Mariners 0, Red Sox
0.

MARINERS 5TH: Presley was called out on strikes; Calderon was
called out on strikes; Tartabull was called out on strikes; 0 R,
0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Mariners 0, Red Sox 0.

RED SOX 5TH: Gedman singled [Gedman out at second (right to
shortstop)]; Barrett walked; Lyons flied out to center; Hoffman
forced Barrett (third to second); 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. 
Mariners 0, Red Sox 0.

MARINERS 6TH: Henderson struck out; Yeager was called out on
strikes; Owen flied out to center; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. 
Mariners 0, Red Sox 0.

RED SOX 6TH: Evans reached on an error by Tartabull [Evans to
first]; Evans was caught stealing second (catcher to second);
Boggs walked; Buckner doubled [Boggs to third]; Rice grounded
out (shortstop to first); Baylor struck out; 0 R, 1 H, 1 E, 2
LOB.  Mariners 0, Red Sox 0.

MARINERS 7TH: P. Bradley struck out; Phelps struck out; Thomas
homered; Presley grounded out (first to pitcher); 1 R, 1 H, 0 E,
0 LOB.  Mariners 1, Red Sox 0.

RED SOX 7TH: Gedman popped to third; Barrett grounded out
(shortstop to first); Lyons singled; Hoffman walked [Lyons to
second]; ROMERO RAN FOR HOFFMAN; Evans homered [Lyons scored,
Romero scored]; Boggs flied out to left; 3 R, 2 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. 
Mariners 1, Red Sox 3.

MARINERS 8TH: ROMERO STAYED IN GAME (PLAYING SS); Calderon
struck out; Tartabull singled; Henderson struck out; COWENS
BATTED FOR YEAGER; Cowens flied out to center; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1
LOB.  Mariners 1, Red Sox 3.

RED SOX 8TH: KEARNEY REPLACED COWENS (PLAYING C ); Buckner
singled; Rice grounded out (shortstop to first) [Buckner to
second]; Baylor walked; YOUNG REPLACED MOORE (PITCHING); Gedman
flied out to center; BEST REPLACED YOUNG (PITCHING); Barrett
struck out; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 2 LOB.  Mariners 1, Red Sox 3.

MARINERS 9TH: STAPLETON REPLACED BAYLOR (PLAYING 1B); Owen
struck out; P. Bradley was called out on strikes; Phelps
grounded out (shortstop to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. 
Mariners 1, Red Sox 3.

Final Totals      R   H   E  LOB
 Mariners         1   3   1    2
 Red Sox          3   8   1    7

BOXSCORE
 Watch the full game here


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