In a week which saw Johnny Pesky laid to rest, the Red Sox and their fans bid him adieu in a poignant Fenway Park moment, Roger Clemens made his way back on to the baseball stage. Talk about a study in contrasts.
The Red Sox players all wore number 6 to honor the Red Sox great Tuesday night.
Roger Clemens announces he will return to baseball and pitch with the Sugarland Skeeters an independent minor league team in the Atlantic League.
You remember him right? Well in case you’ve forgotten…..
It was almost 30 years ago today, when the Rocket taught the band to play…..
He’s been going in and out of style…..
But he’s guaranteed to raise a smile….
So let me introduce to you…..The One and Only…..
Why would a 50-year-old guy who’s made $150,000,000.00 in baseball want to come back? He claims it’s just to “have a little fun”. Really? Have a little fun huh? Wait but he also said he’s not “ready to pitch in the major leagues, just yet”. Just yet Rog? So which is it to “have a little fun” or is it the first step back to the bigs?
Well there is one thing that is motivating this step in the career of One and Only. One thing and one thing only!
In December, One and Onlys’ name will appear, for the first time, on the ballot for consideration for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame come next July. For purposes of clarification, this is how it works. First a player must play for a minimum of ten seasons in the major leagues. After he is retired for five seasons his name makes its first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot. He will remain on that ballot for a maximum of 15 years, as long as he receives at least 5% of the vote. If he fails to make 5% of the vote, his name is removed from consideration; if 75% of the voting members of the BBWAA ( Baseball Writers Association of America) put an “X” next to a player’s name, he’s in!
Now here’s the deal, there are 45 names on the ballot which will be cast in December, 32 of which appear for the first time. Of those 32 first timers between 20-25 will not receive the 5% required for future consideration. However, this years first time ballot is historic because the following names appear, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and of course the aforementioned One and Only. Each of these players have the numbers to be “first time inductees” which would have made the July 2013 induction one of the most historic of all time. However these three former players have another thing in common.
Their propensity to stick or have somebody else stick, needles in their tushy, loaded with things that will help them perform better has left an unagreeable taste in the mouths of the BBWAA and thus none of them will be inducted come next July. Oh they’ll stay on the ballot but this mess will just continue to linger as the BBWAA simply bides and buys time.
You may or may not be aware that ole One and Only retired from the Houston Astros.
One and Only won 354 games in the major leagues, (ninth all time), seven Cy Young Awards and on his numbers is a stone cold lock for Hall of Fame induction his first time on the ballot.
He is also under a personal services contract with those same Astros. The Astros just fired their manager and the owner said that something has to be done to get more tushys in the seats at Minute Maid Park. Hmmmmmm can you smell what ole One and Only and the Astros have cooking? I’m sure you can!
First, guess what happens if One and Only appears in one game this year, just one game? That’s right, his name comes off the Hall of Fame ballot and will not appear again until at least December of 2017! Time mends, things change and so will the attitude of the BBWAA as more and more new members become a part of this elite corps of baseball journalists. So time is and will be on the side of those players tainted with their brush with needles.
As you can imagine, One and Only was asked about this comeback in relation to his eligibility for the Hall of Fame and if it factored into his decision. One and Only was quick to respond, “not one bit”!
Although I did not see this first hand there are reports that this took place almost immediately after he uttered the phrase “not one bit”.
As all of this unfolded, two men came to my mind. The first was Dad. I remember watching one of One and Only’s first press conferences in Boston back in 1984. Dad said, “they (Red Sox) should never let this kid speak without somebody standing right next to him, he’s either a fraud or he’s not very smart, I’m not sure which”.
The next was the late Boston Globe columnist Will McDonough who had his own nickname for the kid from the Lone Star state…..
And the singer’s gonna sing a song, and he wants you all to sing along, so let me introduce to you, the One and Only…..
Texas Con Man!
The flag at Fenway Park flys at half mast honoring Johnny Pesky.
And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, August 24, 2012, with thanks to John, Paul and BJ Weiss.