As keeper of Sports Illustrated's indispensable Vault, Andy Gray spends a lot of his time sifting through the sports photography of another time, when athletes wore short shorts and facial hair, and everyone looked vaguely uncomfortable. Here is one such photo.
We look back to June 1988, when a 25-year-old Red Sox ace was establishing himself as the best pitcher in baseball and not yet getting charged with lying to Congress. In fact, Roger Clemens's resume after his first four seasons was so good, Sports Illustrated called him a good bet to go to Cooperstown. Little did we know how debatable a proposition that would become. Here, writer Bruce Newman discusses the pitcher's exhausting workout routine:
Clemens had to learn to be adaptable in other ways, for over a period of seven years, starting at the age of 13, he attended six different schools in three cities. He left Ohio in the middle of his freshman year in high school and took up residence in Houston with his brother Randy. As if to counteract the turmoil of his life, Clemens sought consistency in his physical drives. He would put himself through exhausting workouts of weightlifting and calisthenics, then run home from school, trying to drain himself. "I had certain rules to follow when I was young, and discipline just became a habit." he says. "I always wanted to be strong—not just mentally but physically. I spent many Friday nights when I was at Spring Woods High School running and working out while my friends were out partying and getting drunk." Even now, when Clemens considers all the pleasures his life confers upon him. he says the blind, numb emptiness that follows total exhaustion is "the best feeling there is."