You’ll recall that Rogers Clemens and a team of retired major leaguers came together to compete at the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kansas. That’s going on right now and Clemens’ team, the Kansas Stars, got beat for the first time yesterday.
The reason? Age, mostly. Two of the players — Ryan Langerhans and J.D. Drew (naturally) left with injuries. And starting pitcher Roger Clemens ran out of gas early. From the Wichita Eagle:
Nine years after retirement, Clemens didn’t possess anything like the fastball velocity he used to strike out 4,672 batters – third all-time – over 24 seasons . . . He couldn’t survive a third inning in which he allowed two hits and hit two batters. Ware’s single came on Clemens’ 45th pitch, and he was removed by Stars pitching coach Dave LaRoche, a former major-league pitcher.
Clemens was described as “wily,” though, and he obviously has forgotten more about pitching in the past couple of days than anyone in that tournament will ever know. He’s 54, though, and according to LaRoche it was Clemens’ call to come out of the game, saying he didn’t have anything left.
Clemens’ team is still advancing to the quarterfinals — it’s not a single elimination tournament — but Clemens’ work is probably over. The lede of the story is a happy one, in which a young man named Brylie Ware talked about how mind-bending and insane it was that he got a hit off of Roger Clemens of all people. But even if you’re not a Roger Clemens fan, this little bit still makes you stop for a moment:
Ware, a former Sedgwick High player who was an All-American for Neosho this spring while leading the nation in batting average, home runs and RBIs, may be the last hitter Clemens ever faces in a competitive environment.
Clemens left to a standing ovation.