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New award honors Clemens
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02/14/2004 11:08 PM ET
New award honors Clemens
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The Roger Clemens Award will go to the top college baseball pitcher. (Alyson Footer/MLB.com)
  • Clemens still the toast of the town

    HOUSTON -- With six college baseball teams participating in the Minute Maid Park College Classic this weekend, it was only fitting that Roger Clemens, a former University of Texas All-American, was on hand to commemorate the birth of a brand new award.

    The Roger Clemens Award, named after the six-time Cy Young Award winner who recently signed a one-year contract with the Houston Astros, will go to the top college baseball pitcher during a gala ceremony held in Houston on July 15. The new award will replace the Rotary Smith Award, which honored the top college player in the country.

    Organized by a local non-profit organization named College Baseball Pitcher of the Year, money raised through ticket sales and sponsorships for the award and dinner will benefit amateur baseball.

       Roger Clemens   /   P
    Height: 6'4"
    Weight: 238
    Bats/Throws: R/R

    More info:
    Player page
    Stats
    Splits
    Astros site

    The Rotary Smith Award began 16 years ago but organizers found it difficult to distinguish this honor from the four other national awards given to the top player in the NCAA. By lending his name to the effort, Clemens hopes to give the award prestige while helping to raise funds for a good cause.

    "I think it's neat we're going to have the opportunity to recognize the most dominating pitcher in the NCAA," Clemens said. "I love college sports, I love college baseball. I love the competition and I love how enthusiastic the kids are. This is going to be a fun thing for me to participate in and make sure it goes well."

    Voting on the award will be Division I head baseball coaches, past Rotary Smith Award recipients, and a selected panel of college baseball writers and broadcasters. A preliminary watch list for the award will be released soon, followed by two rounds of voting that will cut the list to 10 semifinalists and then three finalists.

    Each of the finalists, along with his head coach, will be brought to Houston for the gala dinner and announcement of the winner.

    Organizers hope others will see this award as a Cy Young for college pitchers. So who better to name it after than someone who owns six awards named after Young, the all-time winningest pitcher?

    Clemens hopes his name will provide inspiration for future Major League hopefuls.

    "The joy that I've experienced when I hear someone like a Curt Schilling or a Kerry Wood make a comment that a talk that we had might have helped them somewhere ... I don't have to look any further than my own situation," he said. "When I sat next to Tom Seaver or had an opportunity to talk to Nolan Ryan ... it kind of comes full circle. Now we're trying to leave a little something behind. But this is not a little something. This is something that's going to go on forever."

    Clemens chuckled when asked if it was strange to have an award named after him while he is still an active player.

    "Usually you have to be retired," he said. "For a short period of time, I thought I was going to be. A living legend, you're retired and alive. A legend, you're usually dead. Neither one of those have come my way, thank goodness.

    "There have been several pitchers that have come through the Major Leagues who have retired, some great names. To have this honor, that's exactly what it is."

    Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.




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