Houston Astro pitching great William Roger Clemens (1962-) was born on this day in Dayton, Ohio. One of six children, Clemens played little league and idolized baseball legend Nolan Ryan, then moved with his family to Houston, Texas in 1977.
With focus and intensity, called "fire and grit" by catcher Brad Ausmus, Clemens has amazed fans and teammates with his performances. He once said: "Everybody kind of perceives me as being angry. It's not anger, it's motivation."
His "motivation" has paid off. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner received an $18 million contract in 2005, the highest salary for a pitcher in baseball history.
"I take a deep breath, and here we go again," said "Rocket" Clemens, known for his power and accuracy. "I'm ready for the challenge."
The 10-time All-Star helped the Astros in 2004 come within one win of the franchise's first World Series appearance. The fireballer finished 18-4 with a 2.98 ERA and 218 strikeouts. He has over 300 career wins and 4,000 strikeouts.
"So no matter my age or what I've done in the past, you want to make a good showing. I was just grateful that I have a lot of friends and family here I get to share this with," he said in 2004.
Clemens, whose uniform number is 22, established the Roger Clemens Foundation in 1992 to help children’s charities in the communities where Roger has played baseball: Houston, New York, Boston, and Toronto
"He's a superhero, man," said his teammate Jeff Bagwell in 2004. "He's the Rocket. You can't tell me everyone on the field doesn't know about him, doesn't know who he is. The Legend of Rocket always grows."
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