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Sunday, June 15
Updated: June 16, 6:20 PM ET
Clemens says he may boycott Hall ceremony news services

He's won six Cy Young awards and 300 games and is only one of three pitchers with 4,000 strikeouts. Roger Clemens has written his own ticket to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The question is, will he be in Cooperstown on the day of his eventual induction?

Clemens said Saturday he will not attend his own induction ceremony if he is not allowed to go into the Hall of Fame as a member of the New York Yankees.

Mon., June 16
The first question that struck me, upon hearing about the flap over Roger Clemens' Hall of Fame plaque, was, "At what point did this become an occasional issue?" Before Dave Winfield, I never heard even a single discussion of caps on plaques. Or at least I don't remember hearing such a discussion.

But then Winfield (supposedly) "sold" his cap, and then Wade Boggs tried to. And so the Hall of Fame had to do something, and take the matter out of the hands of the players. Because players are human and humans are greedy, and it doesn't look good when naked greed is allowed to take over something that is, however tenuously, supposed to capture history with at least a modicum of integrity.

So Clemens is obviously free to express his opinion, and I encourage the Hall of Fame to consider it. But if the Hall decides that future visitors to the Cooperstown are best served by putting a Red Sox cap atop Clemens' mug, then so be it. It's very unlikely that Clemens, petulant though he can be, would skip his own induction ceremony. And if he does, life will go on.

The Hall of Fame reserves the right to select which team a player will be identified with for induction. For example, Gary Carter will enter the Hall this summer as a member of the Montreal Expos, even though his wish was to go in as a member of the New York Mets.

The 40-year-old Clemens, who won his 300th game Friday night against the Cardinals, has said he plans to retire at the end of this season. If he does retire, he will become a member of the Hall in 2009. Clemens, who also pitched for the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays, has emphasized numerous times his desire to go into the Hall as a Yankee.

"I play 20 years, work my tail off, they're not going to tell me what hat I'm wearing," Clemens told reporters Saturday. "I promise you that. There might be a vacant seat there. I'll take my mother and we'll go to Palm Springs and invite all y'all and we'll have our own celebration."

Clemens spent 13 years with the Red Sox, two with the Blue Jays and the last five with the Yankees. He posted terrific numbers for all three franchises, but did not win a championship until he joined the Yankees. He has won two titles with New York, plus his sixth Cy Young Award.

"Somebody told me there are a couple of guys who don't even have a hat on," Clemens said. "But that would be disrespectful to what Mr. (George) Steinbrenner has given me: an opportunity to come here and continue my career, to be able to achieve these moments and become a Hall of Famer.

"I became a Hall of Famer here," Clemens added. "If I'd have listened to people there [in Boston], then I'd have been done. Not people. One person that evaluated my skills and he didn't take the time to get to know me."

Clemens left Boston as a free agent after the 1996 season when general manager Dan Duquette and the Red Sox figured that his best years were behind him. Clemens then signed with the Blue Jays and won the Cy Young in each of his two years in Toronto. He was then traded to the Yankees.

Clemens has been solid for the Yankees this season, going 7-4 with a 3.73 ERA with a league-leading 97 strikeouts in 89 innings.

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