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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Roger Clemens Family

by Eddie Williams

It was October (World Series time) the only person in the Roger Clemens family playing baseball was young Koby Clemens. Roger pitched and the Astros were knocked out of last year's World Series by the Cardinals in St Louis the night before Koby and the Houston Heat played their first round game in the Perfect Game/Baseball America World Wood Bat Championship in Ft Myers, Florida. The 80-team event, featuring almost 1,600 top players from across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic is the biggest scouting event in amateur baseball. 

Historic Terry Park on the East side of Ft Myers, FL was the setting. The entire Clemens family was there including 7 time Cy Young winner Roger. Koby hit a home run as the Heat won their first pool play game. "He's a better athlete than I was," said Clemens. "He has fun with it. I wish I could swing a little bit like him. We might be in the World Series."

"Obviously I would love to be pitching (in the World Series) but it didn't work out. We were going to be here regardless," said Clemens. We had this on our schedule and the team (Astros) knew it. Even if the team had advanced, I'd still be here at Perfect Game." Note: Roger Clemens wasn't scheduled to pitch the first two games in Boston.

"The guys they run out there were incredible," Roger Clemens said. "I knew I was going to see some nice players but I was really impressed with this whole tournament. I had heard a lot of good things about Perfect Game 
        Koby Clemens and his father Roger in the dugout      and now I see why. They are great for young players and I couldn't believe
                                                                                            the number of scouts and college coaches." Note: There were well over 600
                                                                                            scouts and college coaches in attendance.

Roger was bombarded by hundreds of fans seeking autographs for four straight days and was asked if that bothered him. "No not at all, I don't mind". He also spent time throwing BP to kids and it was very impressive watching one of the biggest names in baseball history just enjoying the whole experience. Especially during the same time that Boston and St Louis were playing in the World Series.

"I got to see a few old team mates who had kids playing and some who are here with Perfect Game. I remember Ben Ford whose dad runs Perfect Game from being with the Yankees. He is a good kid." 

Clemens went on to say, "This whole thing was very competitive high level baseball, and I really enjoyed it. Phil and the other coaches do a great job. I was very surprised by the talent level and the way things are run. This is first class." 

Houston Heat ended up winning the championship rings defeating a very      A few heat coaches and players. There are winners of 8
talented Ohio Warhawk team in the finals and Koby led the Heat team in     Cy young Awards in this photo. Roger Clemens (7) and 
RBI for the tournament. Another star for the Heat just happened to be the    
Doug Drabek (1).
son of yet another former Cy Young award winner. Doug Drabek had two
sons Kyle and Justin who performed very well. In fact, young Kyle closed
out three games with a mid 90s fast ball. He is ranked the top junior
prospect in the country. Justin is a senior.                                                                                                                

Phil Cross runs the Heat program that includes several of the top rated prospects in America. "These kids play for us because of who they are, not who their dads might be." He describes all the young players with famous fathers as being very unassuming, composed and they play hard.

Houston Heat's outstanding group ran the table and finished with an 8-0 record against the highest level competition in the country. Yet, when you talk to Phil Cross, Doug Drabek or Roger Clemens they understand that it's a game. The family atmosphere and love of the game is more important than the final score.

Koby said it best after all the dust had settled. I've always wanted to come to a Perfect Game showcase and I had a blast. This was really fun! Note: Koby has since signed with the U of Texas following his fathers footsteps.

The Houston Heat 2004 Perfect Game/Baseball America
World Champions
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