- Joe McDonald, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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BOSTON -- Former Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens has a unique legacy in this town.
He’s been cheered, jeered and a lot of in-between during his professional career.
He played 13 seasons for the Red Sox and won three Cy Young Awards while pitching here. He won 192 games for the Red Sox and collected 2,590 strikeouts. When he left to play for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1997, he won back-to-back Cy Youngs before signing with the New York Yankees.
Even though he spent a total of six years in New York and another three years with the Houston Astros, he claims Boston is still his city.
“I’ve never lost my love for this town,” Clemens said.
Clemens returned to where it all started for him and participated in the final year-end celebrations for the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. He received a nice ovation from the fans prior to Wednesday’s game as he was introduced as part of the All-Fenway team.
“I felt young around some of the guys and I felt old around the others,” Clemens said. “This is where I made my mark, so it will always have a special place in my heart.”
Of the warm reception from the fans, Clemens said, “It’s great. I can’t control the spattering of other things, but every time I’m in this town, they’ve been nothing but great and thankful for the effort I gave when I was here. I know how I went about my work and what I tried to do here, and we came close so many times and made a lot of great memories. I had 13 wonderful years here.”
Clemens admitted that he’s had conversations with some of the current players and gave them some advice in regards to the struggles the team has faced in 2012.
“I told them to finish strong,” Clemens said. “This is an organization that you’ll get back on top pretty quick if you get the right players with the right attitude that can mentally stay on course.”
During a Red Sox alumni dinner last weekend, former Red Sox captain and catcher Jason Varitek pulled Clemens, Pedro Martinez and Tim Wakefield together to talk about pitching. One former player who witnessed the discussion called it “an intense conversation about pitching” and everyone else left the group alone to talk.
Clemens was asked what it was like to talk with Martinez after all the special battles they endured over the years.
“I take my work very seriously, like he does,” Clemens said. “We talked about being able to repeat our deliveries. He told me he admired how I went about it and how I was able to deliver the ball consistently all the time.
“If I was banged up, I tried to answer the bell,” Clemens added. “I had fun doing it. I tell people, ‘I won 200 games with stuff, I won the rest with my heart and determination that I got from my mother and grandmother.’”
Clemens, 50, made two starts in the last month and a half for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters. When asked on Wednesday if he is considering pitching again next season, Clemens said, “Well, I had a lot of ice last time I pitched, so I don’t know. It seems to get worse and worse each time. We were just having fun with it.”
12hRandy Jennings, Special to ESPN.com
14hRandy Jennings, Special to ESPN.com
18hRandy Jennings, Special to ESPN.com
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