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The Rocket That Fell to Earth: Roger Clemens and the Rage for Baseball Immortality Hardcover – March 24, 2009

43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Bulldog effort, exceptional book.” (Time magazine)

“Pearlman’s book develops a stark, unsparing picture of Clemens’s life that surpasses anything that’s come before.” (Boston Globe)

About the Author

Jeff Pearlman is a columnist for, a former Sports Illustrated senior writer, and the critically acclaimed author of Boys Will Be Boys, The Bad Guys Won!, and Love Me, Hate Me.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (March 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061724750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061724756
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #820,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeff Pearlman is a columnist for He has worked as as a columnist for and, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, a features writer for Newsday and -- amazingly -- as The (Nashville) Tennessean's food and fashion writer. He is the author of two New York Times best-sellers--Boys Will Be Boys, a biography of the 1990s Dallas Cowboys, and The Bad Guys Won, a biography of the 1986 New York Mets. He is also the author of a pair of, ahem, non-New York Times' best-seller, Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Anti-Hero, and The Rocket That Fell to Earth: Roger Clemens and the Rage for Baseball Immortality. Pearlman lives in New York with his wife and two children, and enjoys Kirk Cameron films, T-shirts and the taste of gum.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jason A. Miller VINE VOICE on April 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'm a Mets fan. I have no great love for Roger Clemens. Naturally I eagerly awaited this book, and bought it on day one. I had fond memories from Jeff Pearlman's expose about the '86 Mets (Bad Guys Won, and his tell-all about Barry Bonds (Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero).

For the most part, "Rocket" hits its points and hits them well. Clemens used steroids to milk an extra eight or nine years out of a career that was about to end naturally; Clemens lied to the media about nearly everything; Clemens choked in big games, usually by exiting playoff games several innings too early.

"Rocket" takes as its starting point Clemens' Peter Gammons-ghosted autobiography, Rocket Man, printed after the 1986 Cy Young/MVP dream season. Come to find out, many items from Roger's self-described past never happened. There was no idyllic Texas childhood, not when Roger spent his first 13 or 14 years living in Dayton, Ohio. Clemens was neither drafted by the Minnesota Twins nor scouted for other professional sports.

For proof of Roger's bad character, Pearlman reportedly interviewed about 500 people. You'll need an encyclopedic baseball memory to remember who a lot of them were -- for instance, Mike Figga, a teammate for two games on the 1999 Yankees, or Pat Dodson, who hit .202 over three years with the Red Sox.
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35 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Rick Shaq Goldstein on March 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the life story of Roger Clemens who among other things is an all-time great baseball player... a cheater... an abuser of illegal drugs... a Father... a husband... an adulterer... a perjurer... a liar... and not real smart. In fact... if Charles Dickens hadn't made the following phrase famous back in 1859 it would be the perfect opening sentence in this book: "IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES, IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES!" The author Jeff Pearlman does an absolutely fantastic job in presenting all sides of this egomaniacal fabricator of deceptions that range from telling people that "he was offered dual football-baseball scholarships by North Texas State, Northeastern Louisiana and the University of Georgia. THIS IS NOT TRUE. He also tells the story of a scout with the Minnesota Twins coming to his house after the team selected him with their 22nd round pick. NOT ONLY WAS HE NOT DRAFTED by Minnesota in the 22nd round - he wasn't drafted at all." (That year) "Clemens told people he had played basketball at Texas and that the Seattle Supersonics and Boston Celtics had both been interested in his services. NOT TRUE." "Sean McAdam, who covered the Red Sox for "The Providence Journal" said: "ROGER WAS AS FULL OF "CRAP" AS ANY ATHLETE I'VE EVER SEEN IN MY CAREER. HE SAID WHATEVER WORKED FOR HIM, WHETHER IT WAS TRUTHFUL OR NOT. REALITY DIDN'T MATTER FOR ROGER CLEMENS IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM." Clemens who always rambled aimlessly in non-tangential flows about his great wife... was also an adulterer... thus exposing himself as a classic hypocrite... along with all his other character flaws.

When Clemens first started his sexual affair with future country singer Mindy McCready she was seventeen-years-old and Roger was thirty.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sal Nudo VINE VOICE on April 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I used to avidly follow Roger Clemens' illustrious baseball career, especially toward his later years when he was such a giant in the sports world. Growing up in the Midwest, however, I was unaware of how journalists on the East Coast and in Toronto and Texas were continually frustrated with the pitcher's rambling, sometimes rude responses during interviews over the years, as if every sportswriter were out to get him; I didn't know about Clemens' massive ego and arrogance; and, like many others who follow baseball, I was shocked to learn about the hurler's steroid use and womanizing on the road. If ever there was a classic fall-from-grace tale, from wholesome hero to drugged-up demon, Clemens is it.

Still, Jeff Pearlman's book is not a complete character assassination by any means. He skillfully weaves the good points of Clemens' character and deeds into the athlete's troubling life story, and he relates some of the positive things people have said about him. Clemens is not truly a "demon"; he grew up poor, lost two fathers and had to work hard for what he later achieved athletically. Additionally, Clemens did some extremely nice things for fans during his playing career, and he has probably donated more time and money to charities than most of us ever will. For those positive deeds the guy should be commended. But anyone who continually lies about certain aspects of his life and cheats to prolong his career is not Hall of Fame material in my book. Once thought of as an amazing rejuvenation story during the late 1990s, Roger Clemens' return to stellar pitching form during his Toronto years and onward was nothing more than the byproduct of steroids coursing through his system while on the mound.
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