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Archive for Sunday, June 1, 2003

Rocket tries again for 300

Yanks’ pitcher can reach milestone today in Detroit

June 1, 2003

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— Roger Clemens will soon join a club that may not admit any more members.

Clemens will make his second attempt at career win No. 300 against the Detroit Tigers today, a milestone just 20 have reached and none have since 1990.

Former All-Star pitcher Jack Morris, who has 254 career wins and three World Series rings, will not be surprised if the 300 club is stuck at 21 with No. 22 of the New York Yankees.

"It's a milestone in today's era that is an incredible feat," said Morris, who pitched from 1977-94. "Tom Glavine might have a chance. Greg Maddux, maybe. After those guys, we might not see it again.

"I questioned five years ago if anybody would reach 300 when Roger had a sore arm and some baseball people thought he might be done. Then his arm came back to life, he got on a good team and he's pitching as well as he ever has. It's truly remarkable."

Clemens, who won his 299th game May 21 against Boston, is looking to become the first 300-game winner since Nolan Ryan joined the elite group 13 years ago. He failed in his first bid for his 300th win Monday at home against Boston.

"A couple years ago, it became more of a goal," Clemens said.

Clemens (299-154) has won 66 percent of his games in a 20-year career with Boston, Toronto and the Yankees.

Lefty Grove (.680) and Christy Mathewson (.665) are the only pitchers with 300 wins and a better winning percentage than Clemens. Both pitched in the early 1900s.

While Clemens plans to retire following the season, he does not intend to allow his next win to stand alone among his accomplishments this year.

"I'm never satisfied and I'm never going to get complacent with what I do until I know this is over," said Clemens, who turns 41 Aug. 4. "Right now, you can think about 300. But once that passes, I've got people browbeating me to keep going. We still have a larger goal here and that's what I like."

Yankees pitcher roger clemens frets during a game against the Red
Sox. Clemens has another shot at his 300th career victory today in
Detroit after he picked up the loss in an 8-4 Boston win in his
last start Monday in New York.

Yankees pitcher roger clemens frets during a game against the Red Sox. Clemens has another shot at his 300th career victory today in Detroit after he picked up the loss in an 8-4 Boston win in his last start Monday in New York.

Clemens insisted that pitching for a 300th win -- again -- is not wearing on him, but he hopes the 50 guests he'll have today will see what they're coming to see.

"Hopefully, we don't have to do this again next week," he said. "As far as worrying, not at this point in my career. It's going to happen."

Clemens has been defined by big numbers since making his major-league debut for Boston in 1984 -- a record six Cy Young Awards, over 4,000 innings, a 20-game winning streak, 3,985 strikeouts and a pair of games in which he fanned 20.

Against the offensively challenged Tigers, Clemens has a legitimate shot at reaching the 4,000-strikeout mark.

Hall of Famer Al Kaline believes Clemens would have been great in any era.

"He belongs near the very top of the list of the greatest pitchers ever, especially with all his Cy Youngs," said Kaline, who played for the Tigers from 1953-74.

Like Morris, Yankees manager Joe Torre believes Clemens is set to join a group that may not expand much. He said Maddux would join the 300 club and Glavine had an outside chance.

"But once this crop of pitchers is finished, it's going to be eons before somebody goes for 300 again," Torre said.

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