June 6, 2006
Normally when we dig through the box scores (which by the way, only go back to 2005 on affiliate sites for the record, so finding anything older takes a heck of a lot more research and sort of knowing what you’re looking for before you start searching) we pick games that were noteable, usually wins.
On this day though, the Lake County Captains lost to the Lexington Legends on a Tuesday in Lexington, Kentucky, home of the Astros South Atlantic League affiliate.
The only reason this game carries any notable value is that Indians prospect OF Johnny Drennen III hit a homer off of Roger Clemens.
You’ll remember Clemens was pitching to get into game shape after signing late with the Astros that year at age 43.
Drennen hammered a two-two splitter to right field with two outs in the first inning for the memorable feat.
Nobody knew it at the time, but that homer represented the apex of Drennen’s career. The 2005 comp round pick was enjoying a good half season with the Captains posting an .880 OPS and earning a promotion to High-A Kinston in July where he posted a .656 OPS. He spent 2007, 2008 and part of 2009 at Kinston before making it to Akron. He played with Akron until 2011 when that ended up being the end of the line for Drennen’s affiliated career. He tested positive for Clomiphene that year and served a 50 game suspension.
He ended up playing independent league ball after, but at 33 is now out of baseball.
But, he will have the memory of hitting a homer off of a very famous MLB pitcher at the age of 19 in A-ball.
This ESPN story from Pat Forde pegs Drennen as arrogant. But who wouldn’t be arrogant as a 19 year old hitting a homer off of Roger Clemens in 2006 before we knew he wouldn’t be a Hall of Famer, though Forde glorifies Clemens up and down the article claiming he’s a future HOF before he also got caught in his own steroid scandal and is now out of baseball’s hallowed halls.
I guess Clemens and Drennen had more connecting them than the home run. We just didn’t know it at the time.
Photo: Lake County Captains