Miller Time: Red Sox should Retire Roger Clemens’ No. 21

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Roger Clemens at Fenway Park on August 17, 1996. Credit: Jerry Reuss / Wikimedia Commons

The Red Sox made the decision to finally retire Wade Boggs’ No. 26 Monday. Since Boggs’ left the Red Sox in 1992, No. 26 number was worn by the likes of Lee Tinsley, Chris Snopek, and the immortal Sean Berry.

But no one has worn No. 21 since Roger Clemens left the Red Sox in 1996. The team should do the right thing and retire the number of the greatest pitcher in their history.

Clemens’ pitching numbers with the Red Sox are off the charts. He won 192 games to tie Cy Young for the most ever in franchise history. Speaking of Cy Young he won three Cy Young Awards with the Sox, and then throw in the 1986 American League MVP. And don’t forget the two 20 strikeout games.

Roger Clemens
Jul 30, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens acknowledges the fans during pre-game ceremonies prior to a game against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Clemens was always a controversial figure in Boston with the fans and media but if you talk to any of his former Red Sox teammates, they will tell you how much of a leader he was on the team. He would always stick up for them on and off the field. But Sox fans were angry with the Rocket when he left for the Toronto Blue Jays and later pitched the Yankees to a World Championship.

Then there is the steroid issue. The Mitchell report named Clemens as a PED user when he left Boston.

Even though Clemens is now a member of the Red Sox Hall of Fame, it’s an easy decision for the Red Sox ownership to not retire the Rocket’s No. 21 on the right field facade. But it’s not the right decision.

Clemens poses with the game ball at Fenway, Clemens set an all-time Major League Baseball record by striking out 20 batters in a game against the Seattle Mariners. April 30, 1986. (AP via Old School Boston/Facebook)
Clemens poses with the game ball at Fenway, Clemens set an all-time Major League Baseball record by striking out 20 batters in a game against the Seattle Mariners. April 30, 1986. (AP via Old School Boston/Facebook)

Clemens and Pedro Martinez were the best pitchers in Red Sox history. Even the fans have forgiven Roger for leaving. The Red Sox were a dysfunctional organization at the time led by the overmatched John Harrington and the vindictive Dan Duquette. Clemens was not in the twilight of his career as Duquette said as he won 162 games after leaving Boston.

 

No one has worn the No. 21 since he left and no one should. That number should join the other retired numbers. Clemens deserves that honor and the Red Sox should finally make it happen.