The fresh-faced 23-year old entered the 1986 season with 200 strikeouts in his first two MLB seasons, setting the stage for his breakout year.
The Rocket would eventually finish with a 24-4 record, 238 strikeouts, and a paltry 2.48 ERA en route to the AL Cy Young Award.
Clemens also won the American League MVP award, The Sporting News Major League Pitcher of the Year Award and was named the 1986 All-Star Game MVP.
For Red Sox fans, the 1986 version of Clemens would be the one they remembered until Dan Duquette’s infamous decision to not re-sign him. That allowed Clemens to go to the Blue Jays, and he was later traded to the Yankees, where he won his first World Series.
Given recent events, his reputation has deteriorated significantly after steroid allegations tarnished the Rocket’s hardware, despite the fact that Clemens ranks third all time on the strikeout list, behind only Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson, and ninth for all-time wins with 354.
Love him or hate him, Roger had a brilliant career, and this anniversary of his unbelievable 20-strikeout game is a reminder of that.
Clemens systematically picked apart the Mariners 25 years ago, surrendering only three hits on the day. The lackluster Mariners finished the season 67-95, good for dead last in their division, yet had some memorable faces, including Gorman Thomas, Steve Yeager, Ken Phelps and eventual Red Sox hero Dave Henderson.
To see what the nine position players that Clemens struck out did after baseball, click the link below.