34 years after CWS title, Clemens rooting for 2 sons to win
It has been 34 years since Roger Clemens helped pitch the University of Texas to a College World Series championship. Now, two of The Rocket's sons are chasing another title with the Longhorns.
The elder Clemens is at the Long Beach Regional, where Texas plays top-seeded Long Beach State on Saturday night. The Longhorns defeated UCLA 3-2 on Friday night to open the double-elimination regional -- with Kacy Clemens hitting a home run in the fourth inning of the opener.
Kacy is a standout senior first baseman for Texas, while younger brother Kody is the Longhorns' designated hitter. They are the youngest of Roger's four sons -- who all have names starting, appropriately, with the letter K.
"This is the time of year I'll wear my championship ring around the boys, so they can see what they're playing for," Clemens laughed during a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "I don't wear it too often, but I'll break it out for this."
Kacy Clemens entered Saturday night's game batting a team-leading .317 with 66 hits, including 12 home runs and 49 RBIs, while Kody was hitting .247 with five homers and 23 RBIs.
Texas (38-22) did not make the tournament field last season, so this is the first time the elder Clemens has been able to watch both sons playing in the postseason.
Texas has six World Series championships, second only to USC's 12 titles. Roger was on the Longhorns' pitching staff in 1983, when Texas defeated Alabama 4-3 in the title game at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska. Mike Brumley scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning for the win, the Longhorns' fourth overall baseball title.
Before his sons' game Saturday night, Clemens recalled that in 1982 the Longhorns were led by captain Spike Owen, who went to the Mariners in the draft. Clemens figured they'd have an uphill climb for the '83 season.
"Fortunately, the next year we came back and we had a little more maturity," he said, "and we were able to get through some very tough regionals and then get to Omaha and win it."
Clemens went on to play in the major leagues for 24 seasons. He won a record seven Cy Young awards, was an 11-time All-Star and has two World Series rings.
Clemens said he doesn't get too nervous watching his sons play, except when Kacy pitches -- which he hasn't done for the Longhorns since last season. Roger says when his boys are playing their positions or swinging the bat, he's comfortable because both have put in the work.
But he acknowledges that sometimes it's hard to be the parent of two players.
"I have to put on my `Dr. Phil' hat on sometimes at dinner, because one boy's 3 for 4 with a home run or two, and the other might be 0 for 3 with two strikeouts," he said. "And they're sitting on both sides of me. You've got to handle both personalities."