So Berkman was crushed after he learned that Clemens had been indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday afternoon for allegedly lying to Congress about using performance-enhancing drugs.
"I hate to see that; I really do. Roger's a great guy. I hate it for him," Berkman said after the Yankees' 11-5 win over the Tigers on Thursday afternoon.
Andy Pettitte, who told congressional investigators that Clemens confided to him that he had used human growth hormone in 2008, declined to comment on Clemens on Thursday. Clemens told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in 2008 that Pettitte's assertion was inaccurate.
"I don't have nothing to say as far as the Roger stuff," Pettitte said.
Jorge Posada, who shared a clubhouse with Clemens from 1999-2003 and again in 2007, unequivocally pledged support for his former teammate.
"I support him. [I'll] be there for him," Posada said. "We're still very good friends and hopefully everything will be all right."
The catcher didn't want to speculate on how the grand jury indictment might affect Clemens' legacy.
"It's not important for me," he said. "I'm going to support him and I'm behind him and that's all I'm going to say."
Berkman, who played in the 2005 World Series with Clemens, said he would support the pitcher regardless of the federal grand jury's findings.
"I'm behind him one way or the other. If it comes out that he didn't tell the truth, I mean I still love him and I'll support him and would do anything for him if I could," said Berkman, who added that he thought Clemens belonged in the Hall of Fame.
Berkman said he'd last seen Clemens at the Astros spring training facility in Kissimmee, Fla. Clemens was in camp to be near his son, Koby, who is playing for the Astros' Double-A team in Chorpus Christi, Texas. Berkman was surprised at how well Clemens appeared to be holding up given the legal issues he'd been dealing with for the past two years.
"I don't know how he does it. I think I'd be a basket case," Berkman said. "But he does it, he's Roger, he's Rocket and that's just, that's how he is."
He added that the widespread abuse of steroids in baseball reflected poorly on all of the players who played during the "Steroid Era."
"That is just a black mark for all of us," Berkman said. "We're all tainted because of [steroids] and the quicker we can get all of this stuff in the rear-view mirror the better off the game is gonna be regardless of what's found out one way or the other."
Phil Hughes recalled Clemens as a mentor to the other young Yankees pitchers on staff in the second half of the 2007 season. He said Thursday's indictment didn't have any bearing on his opinion of Clemens.
Hughes did agree that it was "sad" to see Clemens' legacy affected by the legal proceedings of the last two years.
"It's tough because obviously everybody respects him for what he did and the fact that he has to go through this is tough for anybody," said Hughes, who earned his 15th win Thursday. "You feel for the guy but, you know, that's just the way it goes."
Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.