Roger Clemens Has 'No Interest' In Running For Congress

Tim Kelly
August 21, 2019 - 11:30 am

In his home state of Texas, Roger Clemens' legacy is pretty strong, as he won the 2004 National League Cy Young Award while pitching with the Houston Astros, and helped the team to win the first (and only) National League pennant in franchise history a season later.

But Clemens, now 57, says he has "no interest" in using the legacy that he built throughout his historic MLB career (which also saw him star with the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees) to replace retiring congressman Pete Olson, who represents the 22nd district in Texas.

"The climate in politics at this time is much more than I would want to undertake along with my family considerations," Clemens said in a letter to Olson published by ABC News.

It's unclear how Clemens would have been viewed if placed again on a national stage. The last memory that many in the public have of the seven-time Cy Young Award winner is his legal battle with former trainer Brian McNamee after McNamee said he he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs throughout the second-half of his illustrious career. Clemens ultimately testified in front of congress (and all of America, as it was nationally televised), was accused of perjuring himself and eventually found not guilty on all six counts of perjury.

Roger Clemens spent three seasons with the Houston Astros and is a native of Texas.
Roger Clemens spent three seasons with the Houston Astros and is a native of Texas. Photo credit (Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

The court of public opinion, of course, hasn't been as kind to Clemens in regards to the PED issue. There's a strong case to be made that he's one of the five greatest pitchers in baseball history. However, just like Home Run King Barry Bonds, Clemens has struggled to gain traction in his time of the Hall of Fame ballot. In 2019, which was his seventh year on the ballot, Clemens received 59.5 percent of the Hall of Fame vote. He has just three years left to get to the 75 percent threshold needed to gain induction.

In addition to any baseball morality related issues, The New York Daily News reported in 2008 that Clemens had previously had an affair with country music singer Mindy McCready that began when he was 28 and she was 15. That story certainly would have resurfaced if Clemens had embarked in politics.

The other angle worth considering here is that Clemens, who would have been running as a Republican, wouldn't have been running in a district where it was as simple as just winning the Republican nomination. The demographics of Texas are changing, as Olson won his 2018 re-election by just five percentage points, the closest race in the district since 2008. There's a good chance this race could get ugly, something Clemens doesn't appear to want to go through.