FORT MYERS, Fla. – They’re both from the Houston area, they’re both heading into their junior year in high school and both are considered top prospects in the graduating class of 2013.
And, in anything but a footnote, they also happen to be sons of two of the greatest Major League ballplayers from the last 25 years.
Kacy Clemens and Cavan Biggio were at City of Palms Park Tuesday and Wednesday to participate in the 2011 Perfect Game Junior National Showcase, an event for young prospects who are in the graduating classes of 2013 and 2014.
Sixteen-year-old Kacy Clemens is the son of Roger “The Rocket” Clemens, arguably one of the greatest pitchers of all-time. Biggio, also 16, is the son of the prolific Craig Biggio, one of the most versatile players of his generation.
While both famous fathers were in attendance at City of Palms watching their sons, they made a point to blend into the background. That in turn made it easy for the two young prospects to blend in as well, and to their teammates on the PG Navy team they were simply Kacy and Cavan – just two of the close to 100 young players looking to impress a bevy of college coaches and scouts that were in attendance.
This was the first time Clemens and Biggio had experienced a Perfect Game showcase event, and both were impressed with the competitive environment.
“I came in here just to play hard and show my talents,” Biggio said. “It’s been a good experience and a good way to get used to all these showcases I’m going to be experiencing later. I want to show them what I can do and hopefully they’ll like it.”
Clemens admitted to a few jitters.
“I was excited to see how this went. It’s fun” he said. “There are a lot of scouts out there and you get a little nervous, but I got a couple of innings (pitching) under my belt and I got a couple of knocks so I feel pretty good now.”
Craig Biggio sat outside in the mid-90s heat and watched Cavan enjoy a fine game against PG Texas Orange early Wednesday afternoon. Cavan went 2-for-3 with a run scored in the game, although Craig said neither of them came into the event with any specific expectations.
“Baseball is a funny game and there’s no magical switch that you can hit and say ‘Hey, I’m going to go out here and have a great day,’” he said. “You go out there and you give it effort, you play hard and you give it everything you have. That way, good or bad, you have nothing to look back on and be disappointed about.”
Craig also said he expects the showcase experience to be beneficial to the young players like Cavan and Kacy.
“You’ve got some of the best sophomores – going to be juniors – in the country here and you’ve got close to 100 different colleges that are here,” he said. “So, do I find this beneficial? There’s no doubt about it. I’m extremely pleased with what I saw and the turnout from the numerous different schools that were here.”
Although Kacy Clemens and Cavan Biggio both list Houston as their hometowns, they actually live a lot of miles from one another and attend different high schools – Clemens will be a junior at Memorial High School and Biggio at St. Thomas High School in the fall. Biggio’s high school baseball coach is his father and St. Thomas has won back-to-back Texas Class 5A state championships (’10-’11) under Craig Biggio’s direction.
Despite living so far apart, Kacy and Cavan have built a friendship. Roger Clemens and Craig Biggio played together with the Astros from 2004-06, and the two pre-teens got to spend a little time together.”
“We never really hung out on weekends or weekdays or things like that, but every time we went to spring training I was hanging out with (Cavan) and his older brother, Conor,” Clemens said.
Conor Biggio graduated from St. Thomas this spring and signed a letter-of-intent to play at Notre Dame. Kacy Clemens has a younger brother, Kody, who will be a freshman at Memorial next year.
Both Clemens and Biggio are playing for the Houston Heat 16u travel ball team this summer and plan on traveling to tournaments all summer long. They will play in the Junior Olympic Tournament June 17-25 in Surprise, Peoria and Glendale, Ariz.
Biggio is fairly certain he will continue as a third baseman while Clemens’ future position is more up in the air. He is listed as a first baseman, right-handed pitcher, third baseman and outfielder In the PG Junior National Showcase program.
“To be honest with you, I don’t really know yet,” Clemens said when asked what position he thought he’d play as his progression continues. “I love swinging it and I play pretty well at first base, but, of course, I’ve got my dad’s genes and I can throw a little bit, and he’s helped me out with my mechanics and stuff like that.”
Craig Biggio played 20 seasons in the big leagues, all with the Astros. He was a lifetime .281 hitter and collected 3,060 hits, which ranks 20th all-time. He had 668 doubles (fifth all-time) and 291 home runs, and his 1,107 extra-base hits is 30th all-time. He also stole 414 bases in his career, including 47 in 1997 at age 31 and 50 in ’98 at age 32.
Biggio, a seven-time All-Star, also has the distinction of being the only Major Leaguer in history to play all three middle-of-the-diamond defensive positions – catcher, middle infielder and center fielder.
Roger Clemens ranks as one of the greatest pitchers of all time. In 24 seasons with the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees and Astros, he won 354 games (eighth all-time), struck out 4,672 (third all-time), won seven Cy Young Awards and was an 11-time All-Star.
Kacy and Cavan were only 12-years-old when their fathers ended their playing careers in 2007. Despite their young age, they were at the ballpark as often as possible.
“I went whenever I could go,” Biggio said. “I loved going with my dad. He told me everything he knew about it.”
Clemens mind seemed to race when he recalled those formative years.
“I grew up on ball fields,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun. I got to hang out with guys like Cavan Biggio and all the other players’ kids, so it’s fun stuff like that. You get to bat-boy and meet a bunch of the stars. It’s awesome; I’ve had a great life.”
And then, of course, there was the small matter of learning the game from one of the greatest to ever play it.
“I picked up on it quick because I’ve been around it my whole life,” Clemens said. “I’ve learned a lot of good stuff from (Roger) and he’s helped me out so much. My dad has never pushed me to play. He was never like, ‘You have to play baseball.’ He just wanted me to go after what I love. He wants me to excel in the classroom – that’s what he wants me to do best. But this is what I love. I love being out here.”