2013 MLB Hall Of Fame: Roger Clemens, Houston Astro

Scott A. Miller

While his glory years may have been spent in Boston and New York, Roger Clemens has always been a Houston Astro.

As much as it pains me to admit it, I am a Roger Clemens fan.

It feels good to get that out, and I encourage the hidden Clemens fans among you to step forward and to admit it.

Maybe it's because I've been watching old episodes of Lost on Netflix lately, but I feel like it was my destiny all along to be a fan of the man known as Rocket.

See, Roger Clemens and I share a lot of history. He was born in my hometown of Dayton, Ohio. In 1977 - the year of my birth - he moved to Texas. I guess there just wasn't room for the both of us in the Buckeye State.

In 1984, I began my first season of Little League. Okay, it wasn't actually Little League - we didn't have Little League in my little suburb. It was the Huber Heights Youth Baseball League. The year I made my baseball debut, a young 21-year-old pitcher named Roger Clemens made his debut for the Boston Red Sox.

In 1999, I moved to New York City, and so did Roger Clemens, who began plying his trade for the New York Yankees the same year.

Then, in 2004, at the age of 41, Clemens came out of an abbreviated retirement to pitch for the Houston Astros, my favorite team. That season, he was named the starter for the NL in the All-Star Game and won the second Cy Young Award in the history of the Houston Astros franchise.

The following season, as I made the move to the west coast, Clemens helped lead Houston to their first-ever World Series, in part by entering the deciding game in the NLDS in the 15th inning as a pinch hitter, then throwing out of the bullpen for the second time in his entire career - and the first since his rookie campaign in 1984.

If that wasn't enough to tie Clemens to the Astros, his son Koby was drafted by the team in 2005 and played in the Astros organization through the 2011 season. In 2011, when Clemens pitched for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters and contemplated coming out of retirement once again, it was his hometown Houston Astros who were mentioned most as his potential destination.

To be sure, Clemens isn't the longest-tenured former Astro on the Hall of Fame ballot for 2012. He threw fewer than 8,500 pitches for Houston. But his 2004 and 2005 campaigns rank among the greatest seasons in history for pitchers in their forties. Though the richest of his glory years were spent in revered baseball cities like Boston and New York, Clemens' mark on the Houston Astros during the twilight of his career cannot be diminished.

So while most fans will envision Clemens in pinstripes, or gracing the pitchers mound in Fenway Park, I will always think of him as a Houston Astro. Because destiny, it seems, had it in mind all along.

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