After sixteen years, it was decided last fall (2003) to retire the Rotary Smith Award, which honored College Baseball's Player of the Year. The founders of the award (The Greater Houston Sports Association) , who had joined forces in 1996 with the Rotary Club to try to see the award grow, then decided to focus on the creation of a new award. Given the retirement of Roger Clemens, it only seemed natural that an award in his name, selecting the finest college pitcher in the country, was a perfect fit.
In its inaugural year, The Roger Clemens Award will be presented to the nation's top college pitcher at the conclusion of a gala dinner in Houston on July 15, 2004. All Division I head baseball coaches will take part in the voting for the honor, in addition to a selected panel of national media and all past winners of the Rotary Smith Award, which was retired after the 2003 dinner by the committee that is sponsoring the Clemens Award.
"Roger Clemens has become synonymous with excellence in pitching at the professional level, as evidenced by his six Cy Young Awards. In addition to being a fabulous baseball player at every level in which he has participated, his passion for excellence is unsurpassed. He is mindful of giving back to a sport and a community he loves. With his college and professional resume, his name is most worthy and deserving in recognition of the most outstanding college pitcher. The Roger Clemens Award most certainly will become the college equivalent of the Cy Young, therefore becoming one of the most coveted in college baseball." CBPY Board Member Ray Mitchell (February 14, 2004)
College Baseball's Pitcher of the Year
The Roger Clemens Award was named after future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens , who began his march to stardom while leading the University of Texas to the College World Series title in 1983. As a professional, Clemens has won over 300 games, fanned over 4,000 hitters and won and six Cy Young Awards , emblematic as the top pitcher in his league. The Roger Clemens Award was the only award of its kind, honoring the finest pitchers in college baseball. Net proceeds from The Roger Clemens Award gala dinner and auction were used to benefit amateur baseball players.
When the Rotary Club of Houston announced the Roger Clemens Award, the " Rocket " was on hand for the press conference and said, "I was honored and surprised to be asked to be a part of this award. I never would have ever thought that something like this could have happened to me. The past several months have been an incredible ride for my family and myself. I am thrilled that we can do this in Houston and use this to help promote amateur baseball here."
The Rotary Smith Award paid tribute to the college baseball player of the year and we invite you to examine all the recipients — who are able to vote for the Roger Clemens Awards winner here on Baseball Almanac .