At an age in which most power pitchers have either flamed out with the infamous rotator cuff injury or learned another out pitch — the curve, the slider or, for the most desperate, the knuckler — Roger Clemens, aka The Rocket, continues to throw heat and nothing but heat. Last season (his 18th), the 39-year-old won an unprecedented sixth Cy Young Award for anchoring baseball’s premier pitching staff and catapulting the New York Yankees into the Fall Classic for the third consecutive season.

AW: Coming two outs from winning the whole thing must have been a great motivator as you prepared for this season.
Actually, I don’t need anything to get me motivated for the season. I was brought up by my mother and grandmother [Clemens’ father died when he was a boy] with a great work ethic, and I’ve never taken my talent for granted, thanks to them. I’m in better shape now than I’ve ever been in my career.

AW: What are some of your most cherished moments to this point?
Playing in Tiger Stadium and Old Comiskey Park were great moments. And, of course, pitching in Fenway Park was very special. Getting to face a guy like Reggie Jackson was a thrill. I remember power hitters like Reggie or Cecil Fielder or Mark McGwire coming up to me and giving me a hard time about how my fastball seemed to have a little extra on it just for them. Of course it did. I always save my best for the best.

AW: What’s left for The Rocket?
Another ring, for one thing. Another Cy Young wouldn’t be bad, either. When I came into this league I quickly figured out that I could turn this into something special for me and give my family financial security for a very long time. When my boys ask me what I did in baseball, I know I can take them to Cooperstown [the home of baseball’s Hall of Fame] and simply say, “Check this out.”