Roger Clemens (50) back on the mound

Story here

So Clemens signs with an independent team that is loosely associated with the Astros, which also has a number of former MLB players (Scott Kazmir, Jason Lane, Tim Redding). Is this just a ploy to try to get in shape enough to make it back up the majors for a very quick cup of coffee so he can reset his Hall of Fame clock, and buy some time so the voters can soften their stance on PED use?

I figure he’s celebrating his acquittal by getting back on the mound. He had nothing left with the Yankees five years ago and nobody’s going to give him a major league spot at this point.

Why not the Astros? They’ve completely gutted their organization, and have little to lose by trotting out the equivalent of Eddie Gaedel, IV for a publicity stunt to get butts in the seats. He’s a hometown legend (I hesitate to use the word “hero”), and the Astros have the extra uniforms (that they can cobble together into something that fits him).

By my accounting, the total number of innings pitched by a 50-year-old in MLB history is 3, all pitched by the 58-year-old Satchel Paige for the Kansas City A’s in 1965.

Three pitchers have started a season as 49-year-olds, I didn’t check their birthdays:

Jack Quinn, 15.1 innings in 1933
Hoyt Wilhelm, 25.2 innings in 1972
Jaimie Moyer, 52 innings this year (Moyer turns 50 in November)

(Pitcher Nick Altrock had some novelty pitch-hitting appearances after age 50, but threw no pitches.)

I would say there’s not much PED-less precedent here to make a case on, but Clemens is a stubborn fellow who sometimes can’t tell the difference between a baseball and a broken bat, maybe that’s just the blind-to-reality mindset needed to make it back to the bigs.

On the other hand, he might not be the worst pitcher on the Astros right now. Best of luck, Rog!

I actually saw someone go into this on SI.com yesterday: since the Astros are horrible, they would be better served to run out some young pitcher they need to evaluate instead of giving a start (or multiple starts) to Clemens for no particular reason. I’m not sure a whole lot of fans are clamoring to see 50-year-old ‘everybody knows I did PEDs but the government couldn’t convict me’ Roger Clemens suit up and hit the high 80s for a handful of innings in a meaningless game.

My question is this: after Clemens soaks himself in the hot tub before his start for the Skeeters, is someone going to rub ointment on his testicles like before his big game starters, or is he going to have to do it himself because, you know, it’s only the independent league and the staff probably doesn’t get paid enough to do this kind of thing…

I don’t doubt that’s true. But this is the Astros, not much that they’ve done this year has made that much sense. And in their defense, they don’t need to call up every pitcher that might see the bigs next year to evaluate them - that’s a lot of clock-starting and confidence-crushing (IMO).

Uh, what? I didn’t follow the PED trials all that much, and this bit of info didn’t reach me. Do I even want to know what the story here is?

The Astros really don’t have anyone to evaluate at the moment; the prospects who they were hoping would step up this year have stepped down instead - Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer, and Paul (no relation) Clemens all had/have ERAs of 5 or more in AAA and Clemens was so bad that he was sent back down to AA.

BTW, I disagree that not much they’ve done has made sense - they are doing what they need to do at the moment; it would have been much better if they’d ripped the team apart in 2007 or 2008 or so, when it was already obvious that they were getting old and the incoming talent wasn’t going to do the job; there are some good position player prospects coming up now, although the future of the pitching is pretty sketchy.

I was thinking more in terms of how they fired Mills - having a completely shitty team wasn’t his fault, and it could have been handled a bit differently.

Whether it’s callups or anything else, it makes more sense than giving Roger Clemens a start. I don’t think he expects to make it back to the majors. My guess is he’s close with Gaetti and he’s doing it once for fun. If I’m wrong, he wouldn’t be the first over-the-hill player to try and fail to get back to the big leagues from the independent leagues.

It’s in the Joe Torre/Tom Verducci book, and it’s hilarious. I’m pretty the excerpt has been posted here before.

Does Roger really miss the game all that much, or has he just pissed away all his money?

I think he just wants his name to be out there, to be in the news again for anything OTHER than lying to Congress and steroid use. He doesn’t need the money. After 5 years away he’d get shellacked in the majors. This is just a recently scalded, egotistical ‘has been’ that’s craving a bit of redemption and coddling and where better to go than to a popular minor league team in his hometown.

There’s a lot of UT faithful here that will forgive and support him. Saturday’s game was an instant sellout when they announced he’d pitch.

I think he just wants his name to be out there, to be in the news again for anything OTHER than lying to Congress and steroid use. He doesn’t need the money. After 5 years away he’d get shellacked in the majors. This is just a recently scalded, egotistical ‘has been’ that’s craving a bit of redemption and coddling and where better to go than to a popular minor league team in his hometown.

There’s a lot of UT faithful here that will forgive and support him. Saturday’s game was an instant sellout when they announced he’d pitch.

Thank you kindly. Much appreciated.

I honestly believe what I threw out in the OP - that Clemens hopes to get one mound appearance at the MLB level to reset his HoF clock.

I tend to think not. He wasn’t very effective five years ago, and his reputation is such that I’m having difficulty imagining anybody signing him even as a promotional stunt.

Still, better this than joining Pete Rose on the “I used to be famous, please buy my autograph” tour.

In what sense are they associated with the Astros?

Good question. I had heard something on the radio about this yesterday, and they made some sort of Astros connection, which I thought odd, since it’s an independent league team. It’s IN Houston, so I don’t think it unreasonable to assume there’s at least a professional-courtesy level of interaction.

The Skeeters are an independent league team, and unless I’ve forgotten what independent means, they don’t have ties to any major league team. (Seriously, I checked. They are not affiliated with anybody.) They’re in Texas, of course. There is a rumor going around that the Astros plan to roll the dice one of their pitchers later this season, although I’m not sure why that would happen exactly. There is one report (not confirmed by anybody) that an Astros scout watched Clemens throw. I guess we’ll see what happens.

If by some miracle he starts pitching brilliantly, and he can pass a pee test, why not give him a shot in the Bigs?

It would be hilarious if someone signed him and then he failed a drug test.