Over its 15 years of existence, the Atlantic League has had its fair share of former big leaguers suit up.
Some of them were semi-popular names, such as Jay Gibbons or Tike Redman. Others were big names, either for their performance on the field (Rickey Henderson) or off (Jose Canseco).
But never before has the league had a seven-time Cy Young Award winner.
The expansion Sugar Land (Texas) Skeeters made national news Monday by announcing the signing of Roger Clemens.
The 50-year-old right-hander will make a comeback to the game after last seeing action in the 2007 American League Championship Series as a member of the New York Yankees. He joins Skeeters' skipper Gary Gaetti, who served as the Houston Astros' hitting coach when Clemens was on the Astros' squad that reached the 2005 World Series.
Clemens will be introduced at a news conference Tuesday and is slated to make his first start for Sugar Land at Constellation Field on Saturday.
Sugar Land and the York Revolution both play in the Atlantic League and both are owned by Opening Day Partners.
Local reaction: For Revolution fans hoping to see Clemens in action when Sugar Land visits York from Sept. 3-6, they shouldn't get too excited just yet.
When asked Monday whether Clemens will travel with the team, Skeeters' director of baseball operations Michael Kirk said in a text message that he's "not sure."
That doesn't surprise Revs' pitching Mark Mason much.
"I don't think he (Clemens) went on the road when he was with Houston. So, I doubt he would go with the Skeeters," Mason said. "But you never know. It's just a good opportunity for him to get his career started over."
Plus, the Houston Chronicle reported Monday that it's unclear if Clemens will even continue pitching beyond Saturday, when he will face Bridgeport. That game has already been sold out at the 7,500-seat Constellation Field.
The move may appear as a bit of a publicity stunt by the Skeeters. Sugar Land is basically out of the playoff picture at this point, and with kids returning to school at this time of year, any Atlantic League club is looking for ways to bring in fans. In addition, Sugar Land is a market where they have to compete with the Astros. Still, Revs' manager Andy Etchebarren believes the move is a good thing for the league.
"It might bring some guys to this league that want to show people they can still play," Etchebarren said.
National reaction: Texas Rangers pitcher Roy Oswalt, a former teammate of Clemens with the Astros, is excited about his friend's return to baseball.
"I think he's going to show everybody that all that stuff that he had to go through had nothing to do with the success he had in the big leagues," Oswalt told the Associated Press. "He said he's going to do it a little bit and see how his body responds. I wouldn't be surprised next year if he's pitching in the big leagues for somebody."
Clemens has been throwing batting practice to one of his sons often, and Oswalt said that Clemens "feels pretty good."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who is three years younger than Clemens, told the AP it is difficult to get that urge to compete out of your blood.
"He's always loved to compete," Girardi said of Clemens. "That's who he is. He kept coming back. There were times he felt he couldn't quite go a full season, but he gave it as much as he had. He loved to compete. That's a hard thing to replace is that competition. Guys miss it."
Hall of Fame motiva tion: Clemens, acquitted in June of charges he lied to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs, is still set to appear on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in December.
However, his Hall of Fame eligibility would re-set should he make it back to the majors before then. While Etchebarren said he's unsure of the motivation for Clemens, Mason thinks the Hall of Fame eligibility factor might be behind it.
"A guy that's been everywhere he's been in his career, as much as he's accomplished, you would think that he's done," Mason said. "Maybe if he gets back into major league baseball then that would start over the five-year Hall of Fame thing. That could be a part of it, too."
The Houston Chronicle report said Clemens was clocked at 87 mph during a bullpen session Monday in front of Skeeters' president Matt O'Brien and former Astros' president Tal Smith, who is now a Skeeters' advisor. A voicemail left with O'Brien, who formerly was the Revs' general manager, was not returned.
Revs' infielder Joe Thurston, who said he faced Clemens in spring training about eight years ago, said most Atlantic League players will likely be excited to face the righty.
"You got to look forward to facing a guy who has pitched well in the big leagues," Thurston said.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Associated Press con tributed to this report.