Clemens was inducted into the Red Sox hall along with Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra and longtime broadcaster Joe Castiglione. They were recognized recently on the field during a 20-minute ceremony that included highlights and prerecorded speeches played on the center-field scoreboard.
Clemens received a polite applause from the crowd, while Garciaparra and Martinez were given rousing ovations. The four received plaques and stood at the edge of the mound before throwing out ceremonial first pitches. Martinez was given an additional plaque commemorating his 17-strikeout, one-hitter in Yankee Stadium on Sept. 10, 1999.
But it is the celebration of the hard-throwing Texan that has attracted the most attention, bringing him back to the organization that drafted him out of college and helped him develop into a star. Clemens pitched 13 years in Boston, winning his first three Cy Young Awards and as many games in a Red Sox uniform as Cy Young himself.
In 1996, though, he had a bitter split with the team and signed as a free agent with the Toronto Blue Jays — earning the Cy Young in both his seasons there — and he seemed to seal the divorce when he went to the reviled New York Yankees. His returns to Boston were great theater, with the local fans turning on their onetime hero in favor of newcomers — including Martinez.
When he retired, Clemens had amassed 354 wins, and his 4,672 strikeouts are third in baseball history. His seven coronations as the top pitcher in the AL is also unprecedented; he also won the 1986 AL MVP, and twice struck out a record 20 batters in a game.
But Clemens’ reputation across baseball — and especially Boston — suffered again when he was featured in the Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drug use in baseball. Although he has been eligible for the past two Cooperstown elections, Clemens has received about one-third of the votes (with three-fourths needed for election), despite on-field accomplishments that would otherwise make him a sure-fire candidate.
“I don’t know if it’s that important,” Clemens said, adding that he has visited the museum, where mementoes of his career are featured, and always receives a warm welcome. “It’s not something I sit up and worry about every day. I’ve been far too busy to worry about that. I know what I did in my career and how I did it, and I did it right.”