By any number of statistical yardsticks, Roger Clemens was not the best pitcher in the American League this season. But in the measure of a man's heart, and his ability to plow through the aches and pains of advancing age, Clemens was without peer in capturing a record sixth Cy Young Award, as voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
"At this stage, after 18 years, you're never going to feel great," Clemens said Thursday during a conference call with reporters. "There's going to be times that are worse than others, but I feel pretty good. It is hard to believe I'm coming up on 40."
Not when you consider how many hours Clemens logs on the trainer's table these days, for everything from strained hamstrings and groin muscles to something as routine as a sore throwing shoulder. That's the toll a pitcher like Clemens must pay after spending a lifetime firing 95-mph fastballs, but the rewards certainly make it worthwhile.
Clemens received 21 of the 28 first-place votes and had a total of 122 points, followed by Oakland's Mark Mulder (60) and Seattle's Freddy Garcia (55). Clemens, at 39 years and 3 months, is the third-oldest pitcher to win the Cy Young, behind Early Wynn (39 years, 10 months in 1959) and Gaylord Perry (40 years, 2 months in 1978). He also is the fifth Yankee to earn the award, and first since Ron Guidry in 1978. Clemens is the only pitcher to win more than four Cy Youngs. Arizona's Randy Johnson won his fourth on Tuesday, matching Steve Carlton and Greg Maddux.
In his third season with the Yankees, Clemens became the only pitcher in history to win 20 of his first 21 decisions and set a franchise record with his 16-game winning streak. He finished with a 20-3 record for baseball's best winning percentage (.870) but tied Seattle's Jamie Moyer for second in the American League in victories -- Mulder had 21 -- and was ninth among AL pitchers in ERA (3.51).
Even if those numbers didn't compare to Clemens' previous five Cy Young seasons, there was one in particular that he was especially proud of.
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