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On This Day in 1997: Blue Jays sign Roger Clemens

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Photo credit:Ron Vessely Photography - Getty Images
Ryley Delaney
4 months ago
The Blue Jays signed an ace 27 years ago to the day.
On December 13, 1996, the Blue Jays signed Roger Clemens who only spent two years in Toronto, but had some of his best years.
The 1997 season was his best season in his 24 year career, posting a 2.05 ERA and a 2.25 FIP in 264 innings pitched, along with a 28 K% and a 6.5 BB%. His K-BB% of 21.5% was the best in his long career. His ERA led the American League, and his 264 innings was the most in the league, so winning his fourth American League Cy Young was the obvious call.
Clemens won his fifth Cy Young the next season with Toronto, posting a 2.65 ERA and 2.65 FIP in 234.2 innings pitched. He had a career-high 28.2 K% this season, with a 9.2 BB%. His ERA was once again the lowest in the American League, while the same was true with his 271 strikeouts and 2.65 FIP.

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In February 1999, the Blue Jays traded their ace to divisional rivals, the New York Yankees. In return, the Jays received former Blue Jays David Wells, Homer Bush, and Graeme Lloyd. This was Wells’ second stint with the Jays, and he accumulated 10.1 fWAR with the team in the two seasons he spent with Toronto. Bush went on to have a great first season in Toronto, posting a 2.8 fWAR, before posting a -1.6 fWAR the next season. Lloyd only spent one season in Toronto, before heading to Montreal.
Clemens spent nine more seasons in the league after the trade, posting a 3.48 ERA and a 3.54 FIP in 1642 innings pitched. He also made it to four more All-Star games, and won two more Cy Young Awards. It should have been three, as he posted a league low 1.87 ERA in 211.1 innings pitched in 2005 with the Houston Astros, but he finished third in voting that season.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.

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