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Rocket wants NY on HOF plaque
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06/14/2003  6:03 PM ET 
Rocket wants NY on HOF plaque
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Roger Clemens won 194 of his 300 games with Boston, but says his best years have been with the Yankees. (AP)
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NEW YORK -- With his 300th victory under his belt, Roger Clemens' Hall of Fame resume is complete. Now, all that's left is the five-year waiting period -- and the decision of which team's logo will adorn his plaque in Cooperstown.

In Clemens' mind, the latter isn't even an issue. Despite the fact that 194 of his 300 wins came in a Red Sox uniform, Clemens wants to go in to the Hall as a Yankee.

"To me, once the decision was made that my services weren't wanted in Boston anymore, I got the opportunity to go to Toronto, and I had a great two years there," Clemens said. "But I became a Hall of Famer here."

The Hall of Fame makes the final decision on what logo will appear on a player's plaque, but Jeff Idelson, the Hall's Vice President of Communications, said that the player's opinion is a factor in that decision.

"We always take a player's wishes into consideration," Idelson said. "It's not a unilateral decision. However, the Hall does have the final decision on the matter."

Clemens, speaking with the media just hours after winning No. 300, said that while he will always treasure his times in Boston, he feels that his biggest accomplishments have come in pinstripes. He also added that had he listened to former Boston general manager Dan Duquette, who believed Clemens was on the down side of his career in 1996, he might never have reached the milestone.

"I love what I did in Boston, and I never changed my approach," Clemens said. "If I'd have listened to one person (in Boston), I'd have been done. He evaluated my skills, but never took the time to know me. I don't care how long I was there.

"It's not a knock against any of the people there, honest," he added. "Someone told me that some guys (in the Hall) don't have a hat on, but that would be disrespectful to Mr. Steinbrenner. He allowed me to continue my career, achieve these goals and become a true Hall of Famer."

Clemens' New York resume includes two World Series rings, the 2001 Cy Young Award, his 4,000th strikeout and 300th win. Clemens is 67-31 in his four-plus years with the Yankees.

"The Cy Young, the World Series, there are so many big games that he's won here," said manager Joe Torre. "I think he's every bit as much a Yankee as he is a Red Sox. He started there, and it's tough to keep that from being a big part of him."

Clemens pointed to Reggie Jackson, who is in the Hall as a Yankee, as the perfect example to state his case. Jackson played only five of his 21 years in the Bronx, but most people's memories of him are in pinstripes. The choice of logo used to belong to the player, but a few years back, the Hall took away that right, as some players were using that power to their advantage.

"I think the reason there was discussion about it is that guys were belittling it," Clemens said. "I'm not belittling it, I'm not doing it for money, I'm doing it for fact. I think I have the right to do that based on the work I put in. The bottom line to me is that I have two rings from here. That's what I play for."

Clemens said should it be necessary, he would state his case to the Hall, explaining why he wants to go in as a Yankee.

Interleague extravaganza complete coverage: Cardinals-Yankees from the Bronx

"I won't have to convince them," Clemens said. "I played 20 years and worked my tail off, so they're not going to tell me what hat I'm wearing in. I promise you that. There might be a vacant seat there. I'll take my mother, we'll go to Palm Springs, I'll invite all y'all and we'll have our own celebration. I'm not going to worry now, because it's a long way off. I can't foresee it being a big deal."

Back to work: Clemens and his family finished dinner on Friday night -- well, technically Saturday morning -- at about 2 a.m., and Clemens emptied the house by 3:30, finally winding down his historic night.

Then came Saturday morning, and it was back to work with trainer Brian McNamee.

"Mac started banging a little bit before 10. I told him to go away," Clemens said. "He came back at 10:15 and we got out to the field. We got back to the routine."

Clemens will make his next start Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, looking to take sole possession of 19th place on the all-time wins list with 301.

Did Clemens go at it as hard as his normal day-after regimen? Not quite.

"We did about half of what we usually do," he said.

No place like home: After falling short in his attempts for his 300th win in Detroit and Chicago, Clemens got a second chance to reach the mark at Yankee Stadium. He did that Friday night, and he said he couldn't have picked a better background for his latest achievement.

"After last night, I'm glad it didn't happen anywhere else," Clemens said. "Knowing what I know now, I don't know what it would have felt like in Chicago or Detroit, but it would have been more of a downer. Everything happens for a reason."

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.





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