It's been 25 years, but Roger Clemens and John McNamara still tell conflicting stories about whether or not Clemens asked out of Game 6 of the 19865 World Series.
McNamara lifted Clemens for a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth inning with Boston leading, 3-2, and later said Clemens asked out of the game. Clemens has always vehemently denied the charge. On Wednesday, Nov. 9, the MLB Network will televise a special -- '1986: A Postseason to Remember' -- it which it interviewed both men (along with other members of the Red Sox, Mets, Angels and Astros). And both continue to tell the same story:
McNamara on Clemens:"He came off the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning and we were waiting there at the steps to congratulate him you know, getting out of the seventh and he came down the steps and he said, 'Thats all I can pitch.' Quote unquote. And my answer to him was, 'You gotta be sting me.' And he said 'No,' and he showed us his finger . . . where he had the start of a paper tear on his middle finger and - well, correct this right here and now he had no blister whatsoever, and how that got started I dont know. But it spread rapidly and it continued over the next two years that the blister took him out of the ballgame. And that is not the case. As sure as Im sitting here."
Clemens: "I think I was getting ready to hit and if Im not mistaken, McNamara pinch-hit Mike Greenwell for me. Again, I dont know why McNamara would say something like that, if it was to deflect attention from the game. My recollection is I was at the bat rack putting my gloves on or getting my bat, my helmet or whatever and getting ready to go hit. I think I had only given up four hits. Ive pitched 100-pitch games, Ive pitched 150-pitch games, I think I threw a 164-pitch game at some point in my career, so I dont know where that came from."
Clemens on if he wanted to and could continue pitching in Game 6: "Yes, again, a little problem with my finger. If theyre saying they didnt see anything with my finger, I mean, there was blood on the baseballs and crazy things like that, but it wasnt going affect me to continue."
McNamara on Clemens claiming he could still stay in and pitch following the seventh inning:"That is not accurate. That is not the truth and I dont lie. Those words are indelibly imprinted in my mind."
Red Sox reliever Calvin Schiraldi on Clemens leaving after the seventh inning: "I played with Roger at the University of Texas and then again with the Red Sox and Ive never known him to come out of a game willingly."
McNamara also addressed his decision to leave Bill Buckner at first base in the bottom of the 10th inning with a 5-3 lead, when he'd lifted Buckner in favor of Dave Stapleton in every other postseason game that year in which Boston entered the last inning with a lead:
McNamara on Stapleton:
"The case is that Buckner was the best first baseman I had. And Dave Stapleton has taken enough shots at me since then that he didnt get in that ball game, but Dave Stapletons nickname was 'Shaky'. And you know what that implies. I didnt want him playing first base to end that game, and it was not any sentimental thing that I had for Billy Buck to leave him out there. He was the best first baseman I had."
Red Sox starter Bruce Hurst on McNamaras decision to leave Buckner in: "I think that Stapleton made a heck of a play in Game 1 to save that victory. Ill be honest, Ive never heard Dave Stapleton called 'Shaky'. Thats a newsflash for me. I liked Stape, I thought hes a heck of a player, he added to our team, came ready to play every day. He didnt get a lot of opportunities that year but, you know, he did what he was asked to do. Ive never heard that before."
Also, McNamara and pitching coach Bill Fischer addressed the rumor that Oil Can Boyd was unavailable to pitch in Game 7 because he was drunk.
"Well you said it . . . thats the exact reason."
"I came to the park and Al Nipper came up to me and said, 'You should check on your long man.' He was boxed up, under the weather from drinking, so we locked him in a room."