Former MLB pitcher Roger Clemens made his triumphant return to a pitching mound earlier this month when he debuted for the Sugar Land Skeeters and we all had a good laugh. Wait until the Astros call him up was the joke at the time but no one thought much of it.
But the joke is quickly becoming reality as Houston Astros general manager Jef Lunhow told reporters that he plans on scouting the 50-year old Clemens when he makes another appearance on September 7 and Clemens could be pitching in the Majors once again as soon as the Astros September 12 game against the Chicago Cubs.
Lunhow told CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman that if all goes well on September 7, he has the full intention of signing Clemens as soon as that night and having him ready to go five days later in what would be the second oldest appearance by a major league player in the history of the sport.
Clemens would tie Jack Quinn as the second oldest player to play in a major league game and the oldest pitcher to take the mound since Satchel Paige did so in 1965 at the ripe old age of 59.
There’s more to the story than just the element of age. If Clemens is signed to a major league roster, he automatically has his Hall of Fame eligibility pushed back five years. Many believe that this is exactly the reason why Clemens is making this historic comeback, so he can distance himself as much as he can from the steroid allegations surrounding not only him but the game as a whole.
If Clemens were to appear on this year’s juiced up ballot, he’d be joining the like of Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds — not the best baseball company to keep.
By playing in a major league game, Clemens next date of eligibility for Cooperstown would be October of 2018 with the likes of Tim Wakefield, Pedro Martinez and former Yankee catcher Jorge Posada, assuming they aren’t first ballot inductees.
The thinking is if Clemens distances himself from the blacklisted players, his chances of getting inducted are much higher. He’s beating the system as best he can in one year, whether it be a Grand Jury or a panel of baseball writers, Clemens is out to clear his name once and for all and restore the glory he spent his career trying to capture.
Nothing is official yet, as the Astros won’t scout Clemens until next week, but if nothing else we are set up for a little bit of baseball history from a guy who just can’t help but engrave his name in the game.