The Unfair Judgements Of Roger Clemens This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   What's going on with this possessed rebel?" blares the headline to a piece by Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy about Roger Clemens' recent arrest at a Houston nightclub (1/20/91). Shaughnessy proceeds to suggest that "Clemens has grown bigger than the Red Sox and bigger than the team authorities." In short, the Globe writer believes that the pitcher's success has gone to his head.

Clemens' run-in with the law came in an effort to rescue his brother Randy from the Houston police. Whether Clemens merely tapped an officer on his shoulder or whether he violently assaulted the man is for the court to decide in February. We should, however, look at Roger's motives.

Roger Clemens has indeed enjoyed tremendous success in Boston for the last five years, enough success to cause a swollen head. Still, it was not easy for Boston's notorious pitcher to arrive where he is. In his 1987 biography, Rocket Man, Clemens explained, "I know where I came from and how I got where I am now. I think I know that hard work and only hard work will keep me here."

Clemens was a third-string starter in his junior year of high school. Unlike many of today's major leaguers, he did not arouse great interest from scouts the following year, and he did not receive outstanding scholarship offers from colleges. He spent his first year after high school at San Jacinto Junior College and transferred to the University of Texas where he was drafted by the Red Sox behind two of his teammates. He faced the uncertainty of shoulder surgery in 1985 before he became a star.

Clemens was especially close to his brother Randy, who moved the family to a different school district in Texas so that Roger could face better competition in high school. Randy, according to Roger, is his "advanced scout," a great judge of talent who helped him in his early years of professional baseball.

In the first chapter of Clemens' book, Randy explained that "what some people may not understand about [Roger] is that he is from a strong, close family background." Clemens' parents separated when he was five months old. "Randy," Clemens wrote in his book, "always said that because most of our lives were without any real father, we had to stick together more closely than most families and take care of one another. We did a pretty good job."

Clemens' reaction to his brother's scuffle with the Houston police, perhaps not prudent or lawful, was an automatic one. He cares for his family and will defend them at all costs. He is not a "rebel" and certainly not "possessed." He has earned his fame without forgetting what is most important to him - his family. n

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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