DETROIT — Roger Clemens has had some big baseball moments in the city of Detroit. Not many of them had him as fired up as the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader between the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins.
Clemens flew into town from Texas to see his son Kody make his major league debut for the Tigers after being called up by Detroit on Monday.
A third-round pick in the 2018 amateur draft, Kody Clemens was hitting .283 at Toledo with eight homers and 31 RBIs in 45 games. Drafted as a second baseman, he has played first, second, third and in left field this season.
He got the start at second base Tuesday night, going 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts in Detroit’s 4-0 win.
“I’m just really happy for him; he’s worked really hard to get here, and it has finally happened for him,” the 59-year-old Clemens said before the game. “We got everyone into scramble mode yesterday to get up here.”
Clemens went 11-8 in 26 career starts against the Tigers in Detroit, but he has a few special memories.
“This is like a second home to me, because I had an aunt who lived here, and I always stayed in her basement when we were here instead of the team hotel,” he said. “And I went for my 300th [win] here, and of course, down the road [at Tiger Stadium]I had my 20-strikeout game.”
Kody Clemens, 26, is wearing No. 21, one of the numbers worn by his father, who also sported No. 22 with the New York Yankees and Houston Astros.
Roger Clemens pitched 18 minor league games before sticking in the big leagues. Kody has played 325.
“We’ve had very different experiences, but we discussed the same thing we always talk about: If you are going to be in the major leagues, you might as well win,” the elder Clemens said. “Find a way to do it.”
Roger Clemens knew how to do that. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner posted a 354-184 record with the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Astros and Yankees. The 11-time All-Star was a member of two World Series champions. A power pitcher, he struck out 4,672.
Kody Clemens doesn’t have to worry about any comparisons to his father’s hitting. The senior Clemens insists he was a really good bunter, but his son doesn’t hesitate to tell him he knows nothing about hitting and politely tells him to be quiet.
“What’s cool is when he got the news, he got texts from several of my major league teammates, so I was able to step back as a dad and let them impart some wisdom,” Roger Clemens said. “Derek Jeter is giving him advice, and Jeff Bagwell is giving him advice.”