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Houston the Rocket Has Landed

There has never been a team in history that had a seven-time Cy Young award-winner drop by in June to rescue its season. So only your friendly neighborhood psychics know what kind of impact Roger Clemens is going to have on the 2006 Astros. The Stro's currently a .500 team in much need of help, but can they buy their way to the playoffs?

Only time will tell, and we should all remember one thing:

No history can possibly apply to this guy.

He's The Rocket.

The Astros are not paying this man nearly 3.7 million bucks a month to come back, sign some autographs and drive that train around their left-field railroad tracks.

And Roger Clemens knows it, too.

"I'm not here to ride around on the back of a convertible, selling tickets," Clemens said Wednesday. "They expect me to do it on the field."

So can he? Will he? Should he? And if he does that inimitable Roger Clemens thing of his, how will that change life in Houston, in the NL Central, in the National League wild-card free-for-all and on the rest of Planet Earth? Let's take a look:

The Age Factor

He's 43 years old. He's nine weeks from his 44th birthday. There are actual players running around the major leagues who didn't arrive in this world until after Clemens had arrived in the big leagues.

So ordinarily, you wouldn't find a team counting on a man this age to lead them anywhere -- except maybe to a Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

But have I mentioned Roger Clemens is no ordinary human?

Which allows us to look at this two ways.

If we were just going to look at ordinary humans, then history wouldn't be real encouraging.

Over the last 75 years, no non-knuckleballer Clemens' age (or older) has won 15 games in a season. And only two non-knuckleballers his age have had an ERA under 3.50 in a season of more than 100 innings pitched -- Nolan Ryan and Satchel Paige.

But those two guys were pretty much your classics freaks of nature. And if anyone qualifies as freak No. 3, it's Roger Clemens.

Over the last two seasons, pitching mostly at ages 41 and 42, no starting pitcher in the entire sport had a lower ERA than he did (2.43). Nobody.

Last year, pitching two-thirds of the season at age 42 and the final third at age 43, Clemens led the major leagues in ERA (1.87). It was the lowest ERA by any pitcher in his 40s since 1908 (when somebody named Cy Young hung up a 1.26).

All I know is the MLB season just got a little more exciting and MLB fans (especially Stro's fans) will be glued to the lazy boy to watch this one play out. Can the Rocket be a save all?  Will the Stro's bats come to life at the right time?  I'm betting you see an impact from the Rocket that reaches beyond the mound. You want to bet against this guy helping Houston to the playoffs?  Go ahead but I wouldn't.

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