Roger Clemens is coming back to baseball. Let that sink in for a moment.
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner, fresh off his acquittal on federal charges he lied to Congress regarding alleged steroid use, has signed a contract with the Sugar Land Skeeters, a franchise in the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.
Clemens, 50, hit 87 mph on the radar gun in a workout for the Skeeters, according to Fox 26. It’s unclear whether Clemens has designs on a serious comeback or if this is merely a brief publicity stunt that independent leagues are known for.
Clemens last played professional baseball in 2007, going 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA in 17 starts with the New York Yankees. His last appearance came against the Cleveland Indians in Game 3 of the 2007 ALDS, when a hamstring injury limited him to three runs in 2 1/3 innings of work.
Clemens former teammate, and good friend, Andy Pettitte, already made his comeback this season. Clemens’ and Pettitte’s comebacks are completely different. Pettitte had only been retired for a year. Clemens, on the other hand, has been out of baseball for five years.
Roger Clemens coming back means nothing as long as he doesn’t end up pitching in the majors again. If Clemens can make it back to the Majors, it would change the entire incoming Hall of Fame ballot. First and foremost, Clemens name would be off. Say Roger does make it the Majors this year and retires. The earliest he can get on the ballot again is 2018. Say he continues to pitch. It would be even later. Why is that significant? By the time Roger Clemens is Hall of Fame eligible again, the attitude towards steroids (though he was never found guilty) may have softened or changed.
No one knows how Roger Clemens will do. I wish nothing but the best for that man. I have a tremendous amont of respect for everything he’s done in the MLB. I know I’ll be following his comeback. Hope you do too.