- At the age of nine, Roger Clemens saw his father figure pass away.
- Clemens went on to make more than $US150 ($AU204) million in career earnings as an MLB pitcher.
- He’s used that money to start a charity foundation that benefits children.
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Roger Clemens hasn’t thrown an MLB pitch since 2007, but he’s still carrying a team that needs him.
The former seven-time Cy Young-winning pitcher has been leading his charity organization, The Roger Clemens Foundation, since 1992. He dedicates it toward helping underprivileged and at-risk children attain educational and religious resources.
For Clemens, the passion for the foundation stems from a tragic loss he suffered during his childhood. His mother’s husband, Woody Booher, whom Clemens considered a father, passed away when he was just nine years old.
When he watched his mother work tirelessly to provide for him and his five siblings, it motivated him to want to do the same for other children someday.
“I was raised by two strong-willed women, my mother and my grandmother,” Clemens told Insider. “My mom worked three jobs, morning, noon, and night, we cleaned office buildings at night … I felt like we were rich, I always had a nice glove and a new pair of cleats that the rich kids had because of her.”
Clemens went on to play 23 years in the major leagues from 1984-2007 for five different teams, including the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, making over $US150 ($AU204) million in career earnings. One of his first ventures into using his money for philanthropy came during his fifth season in Boston in 1988 when he met a young girl while working with the Jimmy V Foundation.
“I got a letter from a little girl, like 9, 10 years old in that area, and she was a big fan of mine, so on my way in to start the game that night, I left early and went to the Daner Farber Cancer Institute,” Clemens said. “Her parents recognized me right away, but I was in a golf shirt and jeans, and the little girl was convinced it wasn’t me, and I couldn’t convince her.”
“So I had the police officer take me over to the ballpark real quick, I put my uniform on, and he brought me back, and I went into the room with a handful of signed stuff, and she lit up like a Christmas tree. I just had to have the Sox uniform on in order for her to recognize me,” he added.
Clemens has stayed heavily involved with the Jimmy V Foundation and spent the next 31 years investing time and resources into philanthropy for children in need through charity golf tournaments, baseball camps, and millions of dollars in outright donations to other charity funds.
Clemens still stays connected to the baseball world, too, offering his baseball wisdom to players at youth camps, minor league clubhouses, and even at major league clubhouses of his former teams. But ensures his lectures always include his message about the importance of helping children, carrying on his mother’s example in the aftermath of his father figure’s death.
“When I hold clinics, whether it be 12-year-olds, high school, college, or even the minor league guys, I always make sure they know that their worst day is not the worst day,” Clemens said. “We got a young man at the hospital missing a foot, another one missing a hand, and they would love nothing more than to go to home plate and take a full swing … and they’ll never get the chance to do that.”