It didn't take a rocket scientist to see that 20-year-old Roger Clemens was a legend in the making. Just two weeks after winning the College World Series, Clemens was already a $121,000 bonus baby in Boston's farm system. Not only was he phenomenally gifted, but he was also driven to perfection, always working on his mechanics and studying opponents for weaknesses.
Here's how biographer Jeff Pearlman aptly described the Rocket's first bullpen session with the Class A Winter Haven Red Sox: "Cliché be damned, the ball seemed to explode from Clemens' right hand like some sort of nuclear weapon. With each grunt and release, Clemens unleashed a bullet that slammed into catcher Billy Joe Richardson's glove. Ooof-pop! Ooof-pop! Ooof-pop! Standing nearby were a handful of Clemens' new Winter Haven teammates, mostly lowgrade talents with thin résumés and futures selling medical supplies and teaching third grade. They were there to see the hyped new kid, to hope, in a common jealousy that runs through minor league sports, that he wasn't as good as advertised. Damn. He was even better. Fastballs that hit 96 mph on the radar gun. Pinpoint control. A sadistic slider. 'It was beyond belief,' says Pete Cappadona, a Winter Haven pitcher. 'I remember talking to Tom [manager Tom Kotchman], and we just looked at each other and I said, He ain't gonna be here for very long."
Indeed, Clemens hurled just 29 innings in 4 games (racking up 36 strikeouts against 0 walks—plus a retribution beaning that sent the batter to the hospital!) before being promoted to Double A ball with the New Britain Red Sox. By the following spring he was a starter at Fenway, embarking on a turbo-charged 24-season career for the ages.
Incredible but true, this is Roger's first professional contract for that historic Red Sox debut in Winter Haven, FL. It's dated just after his College World Series win with the Texas Longhorns, and it features not one but two full-name "9-10" signatures, "William Roger Clemens." Edward Kenney, Red Sox VP of Player Development, has also signed twice. VG condition overall. Full LOA from JSA.