This is the most valuable rookie card of one of baseball's most dominant pitchers. The Rocket racked up wins and struck out batters for more than 20 years. Like his idol Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens displayed incredible longevity for a power pitcher, evidenced by his nearly 4,700 strikeouts and 3.12 ERA during an era filled with offense. He won more Cy Young Awards than any pitcher in baseball history (seven) and his 354 victories separated him from any pitcher from the 1980s to the present, other than Greg Maddux. The most remarkable part of his pitching record, perhaps, is the fact that he pitched during an era defined by offense. During his illustrious career, Clemens recorded 20 strikeouts in a single game on two different occasions. This card, which was released with incredible buzz, was produced in very limited quantities in comparison to his other regular issue rookie cards in 1985. The cards, packed tightly in their set boxes, are sometimes found with reverse tearing near the corners.
William Roger Clemens (August 4, 1962-) struck out a record-setting 20 Seattle Mariner batters in a nine-inning game in April of 1986 and repeated the effort ten years later against the Detroit Tigers in September of 2006. Clemens shares the record with Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood. The Boston Red Sox took Roger with the 19th overall pick of the 1983 MLB June Amateur Draft out of the University of Texas, where he was a two-time All-American and led the Longhorns to the 1983 College World Series championship. Clemens flew through the minors and by 1986, he found a regular spot in the Red Sox rotation, leading the American League in wins (24), winning percentage (.857) and ERA (2.48), easily winning the AL Cy Young Award, but also the AL Most Valuable Player Award. He became the ninth pitcher in Major League history to win the Cy Young and the MVP in the same season. Clemens became a back-to-back Cy Young winner in 1987 and won a record-setting seven over his 24-year career. Roger Clemens was one of the most dominant pitchers of his era with exceptional control of his curveball, fastball (which often topped out at 95 mph) and his split-fingered fastball that “dropped off the table” with superb success as his “out-pitch”.
Roger was an 11-time All-Star selection, five time American League The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year and a two-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees (1999, 2000). The Rocket, as he was dubbed due to his superior fastball, played 24 seasons with the Red Sox (1984-1996), the Toronto Blue Jays (1997-1998), the Yankees (1999-2003, 2007) and the Houston Astros (2004-2006). The big Texan led the league in ERA seven times, shutouts six times, five times in strikeouts, four times in wins, winning percentage and complete games three times, twice in innings pitched and once in starts. Clemens won two American League Triple Crowns in pitching with the Blue Jays (1997-1998) winning 41 games with a 2.33 ERA and 563 strikeouts in two seasons. When Roger Clemens retired in 2007, he was second only to Hall of Fame idol Nolan Ryan (5,714) in career strikeouts (4,672) and stood eighth in career wins (354). Clemens finished his career with a 354-184 record with 118 complete games, 46 shutouts, a 3.12 career ERA and 4,672 Ks. Clemens was named in the 2007 Mitchell Report as having used performance enhancing drugs and was indicted on charges of making false statements to Congress in 2010.