The Rocket That Fell to Earth: Roger Clemens and the Rage for Baseball Immortality

By Jeff Pearlman

A fearless, hard-nosed Texan with a 98-mph fastball and a propensity to throw on the heads of opposing hitters, Roger “the Rocket” Clemens received 354 video games, an unheard of seven Cy younger Awards, and international sequence trophies over the process twenty-four seasons. however the statistics and hoopla obscured a miles darker story—one of playoff chokes, womanizing (including a long term affair with a teenage nation singer), violent explosions, steroid and human progress hormone use...and a particularly darkish mystery that Clemens spent a life-time attempting to conceal: a family members tragedy concerning medications and, finally, demise.

In The Rocket That Fell to Earth, New York Times bestselling writer Jeff Pearlman reconstructs the pitcher's life—from his Ohio youth to the mounds of Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium—to show a improper and afflicted guy whose rage for baseball immortality took him to superhuman heights prior to he crashed all the way down to earth.

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Clemens back from the DL on August three, wear his such a lot confident online game face, yet by no means felt correct. He pitched extra instances, then was once a last-minute scratch sooner than his August 18 commence opposed to the Yankees. “Things acquired so undesirable that whereas i used to be warming up I obtained into a controversy with a Yankee fan,” he acknowledged. “It used to be on objective, simply to wake up, to get my adrenaline going. yet i used to be fooling myself. I had not anything. ” “I observed Roger cry like a child that day,” says Fischer. “He concept he was once performed. ” via his first 22 years, Clemens had confronted not anything like this. “I simply need to know what's wrong,” he informed the wearing information. “Tell me what it's. inform me what’s inflicting this soreness. ” On August 23, Arthur Pappas, the crimson Sox group surgeon, urged that Clemens endure surgical procedure to fix what he referred to as a “small flap tear” within the cartilage disk surrounding his correct shoulder. The minimal restoration time will be 4 months. The operation, carried out through Dr. James Andrews on August 30, took in simple terms 20 mins and used to be deemed successful. Clemens was once throwing via early November, and by means of spring education he declared himself healthy and prepared for the 1986 season. “I’m reliable to move! ” he informed the media—a convinced bellow meant to hide a bevy of doubts. For the 1st time considering the fact that he were drafted through the crimson Sox, Clemens was once now not the can’t-miss child. throughout the many years, thousands of customers had are available in taking a look just like the subsequent Nolan Ryan, in basic terms to have accidents derail their goals. “We knew Roger was once a battler,” says Hurst. “But we didn’t understand what to anticipate. ” ON FEBRUARY 23, 1986, newspapers around the kingdom ran an linked Press article titled “Clemens Faces decrease expectancies. ” Wrote Dave O’Hara: Hard-throwing Roger Clemens of the Boston crimson Sox is headed into spring education with basic pursuits: to begin and end the 1986 season. “I are looking to be capable to cross all out whilst the season begins and that i are looking to end strong,” Clemens acknowledged Sunday as he checked into the Boston education camp. Clemens has been thought of a “franchise variety” pitcher on account that he used to be signed as a bunch 1 draft decide after assisting Texas to the NCAA championship in 1983. although, after an excellent first 12 months within the minors, the fire-balling right-hander has had arm woes, sitting out the ultimate weeks of either the 1984 and ’85 seasons. was once this what it had come to? was once the target of the yankee League’s best younger pitcher purely to final a whole yr? unfortunately, convinced. Clemens suggested to spring education and advised an individual who requested that his arm was once fit. “I haven’t had any setbacks yet,” he acknowledged on February 26. “So with a bit of luck I won’t have one. ” but armed with a brand new $220,000 agreement, Clemens reared again, threw his top stuff—and received rocked. In his exhibition season debut opposed to Detroit, the Rocket wanted 34 pitches to get in the course of the first inning, allowing 4 runs, 4 hits and a stroll in an 11-2 loss. “I sought after my arm to get an exceptional test,” he acknowledged in a while. “And i believe it did. ” His subsequent commence used to be little better—surrendering 5 hits and 3 runs in 3 innings to the Astros.

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