Cy Young No. 5 filled Roger Clemens with thoughts of baseball immortality.
"This," he said, "brings me a step closer to the big house in New York -- the Hall of Fame."
Clemenswon the award for a record fifth time Monday, getting it for the second consecutive year. And he did it unanimously for the second time.
"It's overwhelming," he said from his home in Houston. "For it to be unanimous kind of makes it bookends to the one I won in 1986."
The 36-year-old right-hander, who won his first three Cy Youngs with Boston in 1986, 1987 and 1991, went 20-6 with a 2.65 ERA for the Toronto Blue Jays, striking out 271 in 234 2-3 innings. He went unbeaten in his final 22 starts, winning 15 decisions after starting 5-6.
Clemens, who gets a $250,000 bonus, is one of only three pitchers to win the AL award unanimously, joining Denny McLain (1968) and Ron Guidry (1978).
He had been tied at four Cy Youngs with Steve Carlton and Greg Maddux, who has an outside chance to win another when the NL voting is announced Tuesday.
AL voters had no doubt about their selection when Clemens tied for the league lead in wins and was tops in ERA and strikeouts after finishing first in all three categories in 1997. He received all 28 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Boston's Pedro Martinez was second with 20 seconds and five tirds for 65 points and got a $75,000 bonus. David Wells of the New York Yankees was next with 31 points and earned a $50,000 bonus, and Yankees teammate David Cone was fourth with 16 points.
|Player||Team||1|| || || |
|1. Roger Clemens||Toronto||28|
|2. Pedro Martinez||Boston||--|
|3. David Wells||New York||--|
|4. David Cone||New York|
|(Voting done on a 5-3-1 basis)|
"My No. 1 goal is to win in Toronto," he said. "I want to win there and I don't think we're far away. ... Maybe a couple of higher-end type quality players."
Clemens, who is signed through 2000, posted a statement on his Web site last week in which he criticized the team and general manager Gord Ash for not re-signing Canseco.
"I told Gord I hope it didn't stir anything up," Canseco said. "I apologized. He may be handcuffed, that he can't make any moves because he doesn't have a budget."
Yet Clemens remains angry.
"I don't hear anything from the offices that we're going to catch up with the Yankees, Baltimore, Cleveland," he said. "I don't hear that yet."
The Yankees have been mentioned as a trade possibility along with Boston, the team that drafted him in 1983 and let him become a free agent after the 1996 season. There's also been talk of Clemens going to the Astros, who play near his home, or to the Texas Rangers.
"I've heard the rumors like everybody else," he said. "Two years ago, when I was a free agent, there was no interest in Houston and Texas. Fifteen years ago, when I came out of the University of Texas, Houston picked before Boston. I guess there was no interest there, also."
There still seems to be anger toward Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette and chief executive officer John Harrington, both under renewed criticism in Boston after breaking off contract talks with Mo Vaughn.
"They have their agenda. They know who they want there and I think it's obvious," Clemens said. "I just hope they don't try to make Mo look bad, like they tried to do to me."
But while the others wated to look ahead, Clemens was happy just to celebrate. When he won last year, he joked that each of his children could have a Cy Young -- Koby, Kory, Kasy and Kody (all named with the letter K in honor of his strikeouts). On Monday, the kids were all celebrating, running around the house in Houston.
"My boys' reactions," Clemens related, "were, `Now dad, you've got one for you.'"
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