12 May 2006

DPD: An Open Letter to Roger Clemens

Dear Mr. Clemens,

You don't know me. I'm only a fan. Mostly I'm a fan of baseball, but in particular, I've been a fan of the Yankees for a long time, and so my familiarity with you goes back to the summer before I entered fourth grade. Back then, of course, you were a rookie with the Red Sox, pitching against my beloved Yankees.

During your rookie year, you'll probably recall, things were different. The System hadn't yet been put in place that prevented anyone but the Yankees or Red Sox from vying for the AL East Division title. In 1984, New York and Boston competed only for 3rd place, behind Toronto and way behind the Tigers, who eventually beat the snot out of the Padres in the World Series. The next year you had an injury that limited you to only 15 games, which of course is a large part of the reason the Sox struggled to break even at 81-81, while the Yankees competed with the Blue Jays down to the last weekend of the season, finishing only two games back.

Of course, 1986 was, how shall we say it, a "good year" for you? Yes, and Marilyn Monroe was an "attractive woman". Foregoing the understatements, 1986 was for you a season for the ages. An early harbinger of your success that year came in April, when you struck out a record 20 Seattle Mariners in a 9-inning game. Then in July, you started the All-Star Game, pitched three perfect innings, got credit for the win and earned MVP honors. Overall, you went 24-4 with a 2.48 ERA (when the league average was 4.19) and 238 strikeouts in 254 innings. You won the AL MVP Award, and you were unanimously elected the Cy Young winner as well, against a pretty strong field. (Two other 20-game winners and six other 200-strikeout pitchers, not to mention Dave Righetti's 46 saves, a single-season record at the time.) And just to prove that you weren't a flash in the pan, or perhaps because you were so miffed at having lost the World Series to the Mets, you did everything you could to carry the team on your back and won another CYA in 1987 as well. Unfortunately, the rest of your mates on the pitching staff, excepting perhaps Bruce Hurst, stank on ice, so Boston finished in fifth place.

Read the rest at Double Play Depth...

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