Still Top Of The World
The 2001 season saw Clemens at thirty-nine, long after fastball pitchers are supposed to be spent, reassert his dominance at the top of the game with his sixth Cy Young and a 20-3 record. Even with a heartbreaking loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the World Series, Clemens had a year that led Sports Illustrated to declare: "Today Woody Booher's son is as close to an unbeatable pitcher as there has ever been in baseball."
The 2002 season was less successful with the Yankees bowing out early in the playoffs to the Anaheim Angels (who went on to beat the San Francisco Giants for the World Series crown) and Clemens posting mediocre stats: 13-6 record; 4.35 ERA, and only 192 strikeouts. Nonetheless Clemens initially felt confident enough in his value to turn down his $10.3 million option with the Yankees, go free agent, and entertain offers from other teams. However, he eventually re-signed with the Yankees.
With his conditioning program, his iron discipline, his fierce competitiveness, a fastball that still pops at ninety-eight miles per hour, and a "splitter" that is still unhittable, who knows how long Roger Clemens can continue to play…and win.