07/13/2004 10:39 PM ET
Clemens receives honor
First pitcher to earn Commissioner's award
By Jim Molony / MLB.com
Roger Clemens is honored with the Comissioner's Historic Achievement Award during the All-Star Game. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
HOUSTON -- Six-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens became the first pitcher to receive the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award Tuesday night at the 75th All-Star Game at Minute Maid Park.
Baseball Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig presented Houston's 320-game winner with the award during the fourth inning.
"Before a worldwide television audience and your hometown fans here in Houston, it is my great honor to present you with the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award," Selig told Clemens during a ceremony at home plate. "Your Hall of Fame career has been highlighted by many rewards and honors. These achievements will ensure that your name will always be mentioned with the greatest pitchers in the history of this great game.
"Congratulations Roger, you've done a lot for so many and all of us are very proud of you."
The pitcher then spoke to the fans as his wife and children stood by his side.
"I'd be remiss if I didn't say thank you to all the great fans of Major League Baseball," Clemens said. "All the towns and great cities I've had the great fortune to play in, especially here at home. Thank you."
A sellout crowd of 41,886 gave Clemens a long ovation as he left the field.
The Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award is presented in recognition of an achievement of historical significance. It was last bestowed in 2002 to the Seattle Mariners in recognition of their 2001 season, during which they recorded 116 victories to tie the 1906 Chicago Cubs for the highest single-season win total in Major League Baseball history.
"He's headed to the Hall of Fame some day," New York Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "What can you say except he's one of the best pitchers the game has seen."
Clemens, 10-3 with a 2.62 ERA at the All-Star break, owns a career record of 320-163. The 41-year-old has 4,220 career strikeouts, second all-time to Nolan Ryan.
"He's been sensational for a long time and he's still one of the best in the game," Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez said. "He's going to be in the Hall of Fame someday."
Florida manager Jack McKeon is another fan of the right-hander.
"I've been watching him for years and he's still amazing," McKeon said. "You look at his record and all he's done, there's no question he's one of the great ones."
Clemens was selected Most Valuable Player of the American League in 1986. He has led the league in wins four times, ERA six times and strikeouts five times. Clemens has recorded 46 shutouts and 117 career complete games. He is baseball's active leader in wins, innings, strikeouts, games started, complete games and shutouts.
Previous winners of the Commissioner's Lifetime Historic Achievement Award include Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn, Barry Bonds and Rickey Henderson.
McGwire and Sosa were honored for their 1998 homer chase, when they battled to be the first to break Roger Maris' single-season home run record. Ripken and Gwynn were awarded the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award during the 2001 All-Star Game at Seattle. Ripken was recognized for his consecutive games streak, and Gwynn for his career batting average.
Bonds was singled out for breaking McGwire's single-season homer record while Henderson, who holds several Major League records including most stolen bases, was also recognized.
Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.