HOUSTON SPORTS HOF

Roger Clemens, Clyde Drexler, & Sheryl Swoopes to be honored at star-studded hall of fame event

Roger Clemens, Clyde Drexler, & Sheryl Swoopes to be honored at star-studded hall of fame event
The "Rocket" Roger Clemens. Photo by Getty Images

Roger Clemens, Clyde Drexler, and Sheryl Swoopes share more than a mutual history of super-stardom here — they all also wore the same number. Now, these three legends who donned No. 22 will be honored in our own hall of fame.

The fifth annual Houston Sports Awards will induct Clemens, Drexler, and Swoopes into the 2022 Houston Sports Hall of Fame at Wortham Center at 6 pm Wednesday, April 20. The elegant affair boasts a Casino Royale flair and — in honor of No. 22 — a “Deuces Wild” theme. Celebrity guests include Simone Biles, Hannah Storm, and Toby Keith.

This legendary trio hardly needs much backstory. Clemens, a graduate of Spring Woods High School, quickly rose to fame with his intimidating, blistering pitches that earned him the nickname “Rocket” and seven Cy Young Awards over 24 seasons — an MLB record. At University of Texas, Clemens led the team to a College World Series title in 1983. Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays, Clemens was traded to the New York Yankees, securing two World Series titles. He spent 12 seasons with the Boston Red Sox and later, came home to the Astros.

Clyde Drexler (left) led the Rockets to their second-straight title. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Also another hometown legend, Drexler graduated from Sterling High School and later became a founding member of University of Houston’s Phi Slama Jama teams, taking them to two Final Four runs. Glossed “Clyde the Glide” for the way he soared through the air, Drexler spent 12 seasons with the Portland Trailblazers. In 1995, he was part of a blockbuster trade that brought him home to the Houston Rockets, where he joined UH alum and superstar Hakeem Olajuwon. The duo helped the Rockets clinch their second consecutive NBA title. His No. 22 jersey was retired by both the Rockets and Trailblazers.

“This is a tremendous honor, the Houston Sports Hall of Fame,” said Drexler, a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame member, in a statement, “with world renowned athletes and contributors that are part of that, and to be included is a tremendous honor.’’

Sheryl Swoopes is a WNBA legend. WNBA/Facebook

Texas Tech standout Swoopes led the Red Raiders to an NCAA title in 1993. She was the first player to sign with the WNBA’s Houston Comets, where she led the team to the first four WNBA titles. Famed for giving birth to a son during a season, Swoopes is a three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player, a three-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, and a two-time WNBA scoring champion. She is also a three-time Olympic gold medalist and is a member of the basketball hall of fame.

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Astros defeat the A's, 6-3. Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Jake Meyers hit a three-run homer to highlight Houston's six-run fourth inning that backed Justin Verlander's winning start, and the Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Friday night.

Verlander (3-2) struck out nine over six innings to increase hit total to 3,377, passing Hall of Famer Greg Maddux (3,371) for 10th on the career strikeouts list. He gave up two runs — one earned — on eight hits and didn't walk a batter for a second straight start and seventh time this year.

After another milestone to add to a long list of them, Verlander wasn't sure exactly how to feel.

“I feel like I should be more excited but I feel like I’m a little more introspective and reflective,” Verlander said. “A lot of sacrifices you make in this game, a lot of time away from the family, but I love it, so it’s pretty amazing. I don’t know if as a 21- or 22-year-old kid in professional baseball if I’d thought I’d be in the top-10 in anything. This sport’s been around for so long. Hard to put into words, but a lot of thoughts, a lot of thoughts went through my mind.”

When his teammates celebrated him once the special outing had ended, Verlander allowed himself to ponder the meaning.

Verlander remembers his first strikeout and he recalls one against Hall of Fame slugger Frank Thomas here at the Coliseum — and the pitcher wears No. 35 because of Thomas.

“I have a lot of great memories here,” he said.

A's manager Mark Kotsay, a former Oakland outfielder, has been witness to some of those.

“He’s just tough. He’s a Hall of Fame pitcher. He knows his game plan and he executes it really well," Kotsay said. "He doesn’t make a ton of mistakes.”

Yordan Alvarez added an RBI double and Josh Hader finished the 2-hour, 31-minute game with his seventh save for the Astros, who began a seven-game road trip.

After right-hander Ross Stripling (1-9) retired the first nine Houston hitters in order, Jose Altuve singled to start the fourth for the first of four straight hits that included Alex Bregman's two-run single.

The A's drew an announced crowd of 9,676 for the series opener after winning two of three against Colorado following an eight-game losing streak.

Miguel Andujar came off the injured list and immediately hit an RBI single in the first off Verlander and finished with three hits in his A's and season debut — including another run-scoring single in the seventh.

Andjuar's RBI marked the first time the A's have scored first in 18 games — ending the longest streak in franchise history. Batting cleanup, he also singled in the third.

Astros left fielder Chas McCormick robbed Max Schuemann of an extra-base hit when he crashed into the wall to make a great catch ending the eighth.

“That was a big play at the moment,” manager Joe Espada said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP José Urquidy was pulled from his rehab start with Triple-A Sugar Land because of right forearm discomfort. He has been on the injured list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. ... 1B José Abreu is scheduled to rejoin the club Monday in Seattle after playing at least two games with Triple-A Sugar Land as he works to regain his hitting rhythm.

Athletics: Andujar had been sidelined all season after having meniscus surgery on his right knee. He was claimed off waivers from the Pirates on Nov. 6. Oakland created roster room by optioning INF Brett Harris to Triple-A Las Vegas.

UP NEXT

RHP Spencer Arrighetti (2-4, 7.16 ERA) pitches for the Astros in the middle game opposite A's LHP JP Sears (3-3, 4.31).

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