MLB Toronto Blue Jays

On This Day in 1998: Roger Clemens Wins Fifth Cy

Written by Jameus Mooney

On this day in baseball history, MLB announced its Cy Young winners for 1998. There were no first time winners, as MLB Hall of Famer and Braves great Tom Glavine won his second Cy Young award in the National League. Over in the AL, it was another chapter in a book read by many. Roger Clemens was the American League Cy Young. It was the exact same winners as the 1991 season.

It was his second in as many seasons as he won his second consecutive AL Triple Crown. In 1998, he won 20 games while pitching to a league-leading 2.65 ERA and fanning 271 hits. His ERA+ was the best in the league and his 2.65 FIP shows that his underlying peripherals were the exact same as his production.

This was an historic Cy Young for many reasons, but with that award Clemens became the first pitch to ever receive five Cy Young awards. The previous record of four had been set by Steve Carlton and matched by Greg Maddux. Randy Johnson, who had only had one with the Mariners by this point, would end up at five by winning the award from 1999-2002 with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Clemens first award was in 1986 at 23 years old. That year he posted a 2.48 ERA and striking out 248 with the Boston Red Sox. His first three awards came with the Sox, as he also won the honor in 1987 and 1991. His first season in Toronto, he won his fourth. After the 1998 season, he was traded to the Bronx, where he’d win his sixth Cy Young as a New York Yankee. His record seventh and final award came in 2004 as a member of the Houston Astros, edging out Randy Johnson for his only award in the NL.

He is one of to win Cy Young awards in both leagues. Others include: Max Scherzer, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Gaylord Perry and Roy Halladay. All, except Scherzer who remains an active Major Leaguer, is in Cooperstown. Clemens is on the ballot for his ninth try this season, yet it’s unlikely he’ll get in despite a 139.2 WAR, 3.12 ERA and 4672 Ks. Known for his awful personality, he also is a proven juicer. Last year, he finished at 61%, 14 percent lower than the 75% threshold for enshrinement.

About the author

Jameus Mooney