Before allegations of steroid use, before charges of lying to Congress and before Joe Torre's claims that Roger had his, uh, private parts massaged with hot lineaments before every game, Roger Clemens was just a pitcher. An amazing, overpowering, strike-throwing machine of a pitcher. On April 29, 1986 pitching against the Seattle Mariners in a damp, cool Fenway Park Clemens achieved something no one else in Major League history (to that point) ever had. He fanned 20 batters.
When the game started there were only 13,414 paying customers in the seats. As the night wore on though and the strikeouts began to add up people started coming from all around the Boston area to witness the proceedings. He had 5 strikeouts after 2 innings and at one point struck out 8 in a row. By the end of the 8th inning Clemens had 18 strikeouts, just one shy of the Major League record (for a 9 inning game). He started the 9th by striking out future teammate Spike Owen and then struck out Phil Bradley with a fastball for the record.
Some 150,000 Major League baseball games had been played up to that night and no one had ever struck out 20 batters in a 9 inning game. Clemens glove, cap and shoes (along with the ball he used to strike out batter #20) were sent immediately to the Hall of Fame. Overnight, Clemens went from a promising young power pitcher to the "Rocket". He finished the '86 regular season with a 24-4 record and won both the AL Cy Young Award and the AL MVP award.
Years of records, awards and controversy would be in Clemens future but on this night he delivered the kind of performance that legends are made of.