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Baseball Analysis  John Holway



By John B Holway

September 28 1990. The Red Sox were in a dogfight with defending champion Toronto for the AL East flag. Boston had blown a 6½-game lead since September 4, when its ace, Roger Clements (20-6), developed tendinitis and a fluid build-up in his pitching shoulder. The pain was so great, he couldn't even throw a ball. Meanwhile Boston’s lead had fallen to just one game over Toronto, who arrived for two games in Fenway.

Fans lined up early for tickets, crossing their fingers that Rog would be ready. Clemens himself was out in his backyard tossing some pitches “to see where I stood.” As game-time approached, manager Joe Morgan paced the dugout. If Rog couldn’t start, he would have to go with Joe Hesketh (1-6).

When Clemens arrived, he, Morgan, and pitching coach Bill Fisher took the long walk to the bullpen for a warm-up while the crowd stood and roared.

Roger took a few windsprints in the outfield, then doffed his jacket and wound up. The first pitch sailed high over catcher Tony Pena’s head. The next one was on target. “How do you feel?” Morgan asked nervously.

“I can't believe it,” Rog exclaimed. “I feel great! It doesn't matter how many innings I pitch, I'm going to shut them out.” His second pitch of the game cracked into Pena’s mitt with a report that was heard throughout the park.

He pitched six innings, struck out five, walked two, gave four hits and no runs. The Sox won and went on to take the pennant. .

“I never believed he could do what he did today,” Fisher marveled. “I've never seen anything like it in my life!”

(Adapted from The Baseball Astrologer by John B Holway, Total Sports Illustrated 2000)

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