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'He's never grown up'

Remembering 1990, umpire Cooney criticizes Clemens

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Posted: Tuesday October 24, 2000 6:02 PM

  Terry Cooney and Roger Clemens Roger Clemens was suspended five games and was fined $10,000 for this encounter with Terry Cooney in 1990. AP

BOSTON (AP) -- The umpire who tossed Roger Clemens from a 1990 playoff game said the New York Yankees' pitcher should have been ejected for throwing a splintered bat near Mike Piazza during Game 2 of this year's World Series.

"It's a tough situation, due to the fact that it was the World Series," Terry Cooney, who retired from umpiring seven years ago, told The Boston Globe. "But I guarantee you that had it been, say, somebody from Detroit and they were playing Texas, and he picked up the bat and threw it at the runner, he would have been ejected."

Cooney was behind home plate for Game 4 of the AL championship series 10 years ago, when Clemens was pitching for the Red Sox. Clemens came out wearing eye black and, Cooney said, he began cursing, apparently about called balls and strikes.

"I very seldom take off my mask, but I remember saying to (Boston catcher Tony) Pena, 'I hope that guy is not talking that way to me,"' Cooney recalled. "Pena said, 'Oh, no, no, he don't say that to you.' And then he said it again."

Cooney ejected Clemens, who grew so angry that he had to be restrained. Clemens, who has maintained he did not curse at Cooney, was given a five-game suspension, which he served at the start of the following season, and was fined $10,000.

"He's never grown up," Cooney said. "He's a grown man who can't handle his emotions."

Cooney was watching from his home in Clovis, Calif., when he saw Clemens pick up Piazza's broken bat on Sunday night and throw it Piazza's direction.

"It was an awfully dangerous thing to have done," Cooney said. "I think he should have to, well, maybe not pay for his actions, but some action should be taken. It should have happened (Sunday night). Eject him then, and review it today."

Cooney said he would not argue that Clemens is one of the best pitchers of his generation.

"You've got to give the devil his due. He can pitch. He'll go into the Hall of Fame on the first vote, no ifs, ands or buts," Cooney said.

Related information
Glance: It's the Clemens thing
MLB fines Clemens over bat incident
Clemens-Piazza flareup still talk of the town
Buckner calls Clemens bat toss 'pretty dumb'
SI's Pearlman: Clemens his vintage self, in more ways than one
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