By Danny Picard
BOSTON — When Paul Pierce’s No. 34 was raised to the TD Garden rafters on Sunday, it got me thinking. Whose number in Boston should be retired next?
The Red Sox have done most of the work in recent years, retiring Pedro Martinez’ No. 45 in 2015, Wade Boggs’ No. 26 in 2016, and David Ortiz’ No. 34 in 2017.
Pierce’s number retirement certainly won’t be the last in this town. So I put together a list of the next number that I think should and will be retired by each of the four major Boston teams, in the order of when it will happen:
21, ROGER CLEMENS, Red Sox
-Again, it seems like the Sox are in the midst of a number-retirement phase, so it wouldn’t shock me if they were preparing to honor another Red Sox legend in the near future. If that’s the case, then it should be none other than Clemens.
Clemens once again failed to get the Hall-of-Fame nod this year, but his percentage of the vote increased from 54.1 in 2017, to 57.3 in 2018. You need 75 percent of the vote to get in.
The Baseball Hall of Fame is certainly a factor. I’ve asked Red Sox president Sam Kennedy about Clemens’ No. 21 on multiple podcasts, and every time he’s referenced the organization’s usual standard that is the Baseball Hall of Fame. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and the most recent one was last year, when the Red Sox wasted no time hanging Ortiz’ No. 34 in right field.
Ortiz should be a lock for the Hall of Fame, but in the world of PED rumors, you never know how the baseball writers are going to vote. And that’s basically what Clemens is battling to get into Cooperstown.
Regardless, the Red Sox have a good relationship with Clemens. He was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame in 2014. And there’s no denying that he put together a Hall-of-Fame resume during his 13 years in Boston alone.
And oh yeah, since Clemens left for Toronto after the 1996 season, nobody in a Red Sox uniform has ever worn No. 21. And I don’t think anybody ever will. But it’s time to make that official.