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Torre Backs Clemens For Hall Of Fame

Torre Supports Clemens At Old Timers' Day
Roger Clemens is presented the Sportsman of the Year Award by Yankees manager Joe Torre backstage at the 18th annual March of Dimes Sports Luncheon in 2001. (Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect)

Roger Clemens is presented the Sportsman of the Year Award by Yankees manager Joe Torre backstage at the 18th annual March of Dimes Sports Luncheon in 2001. (Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Joe Torre believes pitcher Roger Clemens belongs in the Hall of Fame even though the seven-time Cy Young Award winner has been connected to using performance-enhancing drugs.

Torre said Clemens was “like a son to him” before the former Yankees manager took part in Old-Timers’ Day at the new Yankee Stadium on Sunday.

“I can’t make other people look at him. I can just tell you the way I feel,” Torre said. “I was proud to have him play for me. He always gave you everything he had and I always respected that.”

Clemens played six seasons in New York for Torre, helping the Yankees win two consecutive World Series championships in 1999 and 2000. But the 354-game winner was linked to performance-enhancing drugs in 2007, when he was mentioned in the Mitchell Report.

‘The Rocket’ vehemently disavowed any link to steroids and human growth hormone at a nationally televised hearing in 2008.

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He was recently acquitted on all six counts that he lied to Congress during the 2008 session, and talk has turned to whether the acquittal will boost his chances to be enshrined in Cooperstown.

This winter Clemens will make his first appearance on the ballot along with Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa — two other stars connected to steroids.

Torre, now MLB’s executive vice president for baseball operations, acknowledged that when evaluating Clemens’ career there will always be questions about his ties to performance-enhancing drugs.

“It’s sad for me,” Torre said, “Because Roger Clemens in the way he went about his business — and I disliked him like everybody else until I got a chance to know him — he was a great teammate for these guys and he was very devoted to the team he was playing on and I always respected that.”

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(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)