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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Split-finger fastball or HGH? Trial shows opposing views on how Clemens stayed among the best

Former journeyman catcher Charlie O’Brien was on the stand Wednesday for the defense at the Clemens perjury trial. He was fuzzy about lots of details, couldn’t come up with a real name for the player known as “El Duque” and totally dissed the 1997 Toronto Blue Jays medical staff. But there was no doubt in his mind about two things: Clemens was not a cheater, and the weapon Clemens mastered at age 34 was the chief reason the 11-time All-Star was able to pitch for another decade.

“That pitch right there _ the split-finger fastball,” O’Brien said.

...In front of a jury consisting mostly of people who know little about baseball, Clemens lawyer Rusty Hardin went for a visual effect to explain how the split-finger revolutionized Clemens’ game, striking a pose as a left-handed hitter in front of O’Brien, who pantomimed the grip of a baseball while seated in the witness chair.

“It just totally changed how he could approach each hitter,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien was even a better witness for the defense during cross-examination, when he volunteered that Clemens would refuse to throw scuffed baseballs because Clemens considered it “cheating.” He said he once approached Clemens on the mound during a game with a scuffed ball and said, “This is a great ball to use.” He said Clemens responded: “I don’t need that.”

Thanks to Butch.

Repoz Posted: May 30, 2012 at 05:21 PM | 1 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: clemens

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Benji Posted: June 01, 2012 at 12:41 AM (#4144907)
Charlie O'Brien hit like every pitcher was Roger Clemens. My catcher choice on the All-Time Hated Met team.

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