November 09, 2004
Seven for Clemens

Roger Clemens has won his seventh Cy Young Award.

Clemens, 42, is only the fourth player in history to win a Cy Young in both leagues and is the oldest winner of the award given annually to the league's best pitcher. He won the American League Cy Young with the Boston Red Sox in 1986, 1987 and 1991, with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1997 and 1998 and with the New York Yankees in 2001.

Clemens received 23 out of a possible 32 first-place votes, with eight second-place votes and one third-place vote. Astros righthander Roy Oswalt finished third in the balloting behind Clemens and Arizona’s Randy Johnson and received one vote for first place, three for second and five for third.

Oswalt led the NL with 20 wins, finishing 20-10 with a 3.49 ERA. Teammate Brad Lidge received one third-place vote. The award is voted upon by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Clemens and Oswalt are the first Astros pitchers to finish in the top three of the NL Cy Young voting since Mike Hampton finished second in 1999. Teammates have finished in the top three of the Cy Young voting on numerous occasions, most recently in both 2001 and 2002, when Johnson and Curt Schilling earned the top two slots, respectively, in both years.

Clemens joins Mike Scott (1986) as the only Astros to win the award. Clemens, who's in Japan on a tour with major league All-Stars, went 18-4 this season to lead the NL in winning percentage and ranked sixth in the NL with a 2.98 ERA. He won his first nine decisions of the season and his final six to help the Astros reach the playoffs.

I have to admit, I'd have voted for Randy Johnson, but the Rocket is certainly not a bad choice. Pretty damn impressive for a guy who retired after the 2003 season. Whether he comes back next year or not, the choice to do so is clearly his. He's very much still got it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 09, 2004 to Baseball | TrackBack

Clemens has given a very non-committal answer to this point.

Reading between the lines, I think I can see what he's saying: he wants to wait a couple of months to see what happens in the personnel and payroll department. If McLane demonstrates he's still committed to trying to win it in 2005 by signing some key free agents (preferably but not necessarily 2004 Astros), I think Clemens will be back.

If he goes into "rebuilding mode," Clemens will be officially and finally retired.

That's my gut feeling -- that Clemens wants to wait until he knows whether management is determined to put a winner on the field next year.

Posted by: Tim on November 9, 2004 6:58 PM

On the one hand, Clemens has nothing left to prove as a pitcher. He clearly is headed to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot five years after his retirement. On the other hand, if he wants to emulate his idol, Nolan Ryan, he will probably want to continue to pitch as long as he can strike out 200 or so batters a season.

I think being a Houston area native might play a role in his decision.

Posted by: William Hughes on November 10, 2004 8:01 AM