OSAKA, Japan -- Roger Clemens looked little like a pitcher ready to retire.
Throwing on just a few hours' sleep after learning he'd won the
NL Cy Young Award at age 42, Clemens held the Japanese All-Stars to
three runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings Wednesday during a tour
of Japan by major leaguers.
Backed by the two-hit pitching of Hisashi Iwakuma, the Japanese
squad won 3-1 for their first win in the fifth game of the
But all eyes were on Clemens.
"I had a great deal of fun," he said. "All things considered,
my body felt great. I'm extremely tired right now but was working on adrenaline."
Clemens, who went 18-4 with a 2.98 ERA and 218 strikeouts for
his hometown Houston Astros, won his record seventh Cy Young on
Tuesday. He heard about the honor in a 1 a.m. phone call from
Major League Baseball. After a bit of shuteye, Clemens got up for a
conference call with reporters, then was off to a promotional event
in downtown Osaka.
He's the oldest Cy Young Award winner; Gaylord Perry was 40 when
he won the award in 1978.
Clemens wouldn't say definitely whether he'll play again. He
briefly retired last offseason after helping the Yankees reach the
World Series, then eventually decided to join the Astros.
"I know there are some people in the Houston organization who
want to talk to me," Clemens said. "I just don't know yet."
Clemens was as surprised as anyone by his success this season.
"I never expected this to happen," he said. "I was more than
comfortable to shut it down last time [with the Yankees]. This is
the icing on the cake."
He was impressive for stretches Wednesday, striking out five and
The only trouble spot? Clemens gave up three runs in the bottom
of the second inning. Shigenobu Shima of the Hiroshima Carp doubled
in a pair of runs and then scored on a single to left field by
Hiroyuki Nakajima of the Seibu Lions.
"I made some good pitches and they hit the ball well," Clemens
said. "They've made some adjustments since Game 1. I challenged
some hitters and it was fun."
He also pitched in the opening game of this series, a
no-decision. He was also part of a major league tour here in 1992.
When he came out of the game in the sixth inning, Clemens tipped
his cap to the Japanese fans and got a standing ovation from the
crowd of 46,000, many who had come to see him pitch.
Japan's legendary slugger Sadaharu Oh, who is managing the
Japanese stars, presented Clemens with a bouquet of flowers before
the start of the game.
Clemens signed with the expressed intent of helping the Astros
reach the World Series for the first time, but Houston fell one win
short. Clemens couldn't hold a 2-0 lead against St. Louis in Game 7
of the National League Championship Series.
"It was a good season, but to come up short is still tough,"
Clemens said. "I've had a taste of winning at this level."
With a 328-164 record, Clemens is 10th on the career wins list,
and his 4,317 strikeouts are second only to Nolan Ryan's 5,714.