Roger Clemens somehow gets suspended during the off-season, Tomo Ohka is acquired, and a former Red Sox outfielder is a year older
Events of Note: It's November 20, but the league has some unfinished business with Red Sox' starter Roger Clemens. The right-handed ace had a little temper tantrum in the deciding game of the 1990 American League Championship Series against the Oakland Athletics, one that saw him tossed for arguing balls and strikes. Clemens allowed a quick run, then walked Willie Randolph on five pitches in the second inning. To show his disapproval with the call, Clemens swore fast and often, and umpire Terry Cooney tossed him from the contest. Clemens claimed the frustration wasn't directed at Cooney himself, and his teammate, second baseman Marty Barrett, were thrown out while venting their frustration with the removal of Clemens. Manager Joe Morgan was tossed out, too, giving a handful of Red Sox a jump start on their teammates, whose season would end just innings later.
November 20 is the day that Clemens was punished even more for his outburst, as he was fined $10,000 and suspended for the first five games of the 1991 season. Don't worry, though: Clemens was able to easily pay for that with the $125,000 bonus he earned for finishing second in the Cy Young voting, and did we mention that he made $2.6 million during that season, in the middle of a deal that had made him the fastest player ever to a $2 million season? Clemens was doing okay for himself in those days.
Transactions: The Red Sox, under then-general manager Dan Duquette, purchase Japanese right-hander Tomokazu Ohka from the Yokohama Bay Stars. Tomo Ohka would spend less than three seasons with Boston before he was shipped off to Duquette's old stomping grounds in Montreal in the 2001 Ugueth Urbina trade.
Ohka ended up with a 10-year career, splitting time with Boston, the Expos (including a year with Washington on the Nationals), the Brewers, Indians, and Blue Jays. He went back to Japan after the 2009 season, and pitched for Yokohama in 2010 and 2011. The thing is, Ohka pitched poorly, giving up too many homers -- as had almost always been a problem for him -- and he didn't play at all this past season.
Birthdays: Jay Ritchie, who pitched for the Red Sox in 1964 and 1965, turns 76 today. Ritchie was signed as an amateur free agent by Boston all the way back in 1955, and spent his age-19 through parts of his age-27 season in the minors before finally debuting in the bigs. Once he got there, though, he wasn't half-bad, throwing 117 innings with the Red Sox over two seasons, and earning a 127 ERA+ in the process. He struck out just under seven batters per nine, and punched out over twice as many as he walked. He would pitch just three more years in the majors, though, with the Braves and Reds, before heading back to the minors for the rest of his pro career. He would finish things back where he started, though, with Boston, this time at Triple-A Louisville, which wasn't even Boston's Triple-A affiliate the last time Ritchie had been in the organization.
It's also J.D. Drew's birthday, and the former Red Sox right fielder is 38 today. Drew didn't retire after the 2011 season, but his contract expired, and he didn't sign on anywhere else. While things ended poorly in an injury-plagued campaign, overall, Drew was productive for the Sox, hitting .264/.370/.455 with great defense in Fenway's tough right field. He was at his best with Boston between 2008 and 2010, when he combined for a .270/.379/.495 line with more walks (221) than runs batted in (200). While that may have been a sore point for some fans and talk show hosts, Drew was setting the table for the powerful Red Sox offense, regardless of where it was he was hitting.