Canadian Clemens

With an elaborate in-game announcement at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, Roger Clemens revealed his decision to join the Yanks for the remainder of the 2007 season. Of the four teams Clemens has pitched for in the Major Leagues, only the Toronto Blue Jays were not rumoured to be involved in the hunt for his services this year. That certainly wasn’t the case following the 1996 season though, as Toronto successfully landed the right-hander in his first go-round at free agency after spending 13 years with the Boston Red Sox.

Roger_clemens Despite coming off four straight sub-par seasons (40-39 overall), Clemens inked a three-year deal with the Blue Jays worth $24.75 million. Any question marks about his abilities were immediately put to rest, as the hard-throwing righty was simply dominant for Toronto in 1997, starting with a complete-game victory over the White Sox on Opening Day. Clemens went on to win his first 11 decisions as a Blue Jay, and enjoyed one of his best starts of the year against his former club. At Fenway Park on July 12, the ex-Red Sox hurler earned a 3-1 victory while recording a Blue Jays franchise-high 16 strikeouts on the afternoon.

Overall, he won 21 games and posted a 2.05 ERA and a career-high 292 strikeouts to become the first pitcher since Hal Newhouser in 1945 to win the unofficial American League pitcher’s ‘Triple Crown’.

The 1998 campaign proved much the same for Clemens, who became the first pitcher in major-league history to win five Cy Young Awards. On top of capturing his second straight ‘Triple Crown’, the right-hander won 15 straight games from June 3 – September 21 and set a new team record with 18 strikeouts on August 25 versus the Kansas City Royals.

While there’s no doubt Clemens has had several memorable seasons during his 23-year career thus far, perhaps his two best came north of the border. At least statistically speaking, it would be hard to prove otherwise …

For his solid performance at the plate, Troy Glaus is named AL Player of the Week for the period ending May 7 — slightly ironic, since the Jays went a dismal 1-6 during that span … I’m sure Glaus, who went 10-for-25 with four home runs last week, would gladly trade in his award for a few Toronto victories … It all starts with one though, and Toronto will get their chance tomorrow against the Red Sox at Rogers Centre …

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