Whatever their legacy may be, there is no doubt that Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire were among the most dynamic, history-making, baseball players of their generation – and both easily could have been Mets.
The Mets drafted Clemens out of high school in the twelfth round of the 1981 amateur draft, but did not sign him. After putting up outstanding numbers at San Jacinto College, he transferred to the University of Texas where he led the Longhorns to the College World Series title.
Clemens was then drafted with the 19th pick of the first round by the Red Sox in the 1983 draft. The Mets had the very next pick and drafted Stan Jefferson with the compensation pick from the Braves’ signing of Pete Falcone. (Earlier the Mets drafted third baseman Eddie Williams with their own pick – number 4) . Would they have taken Clemens again if Boston hadn’t selected him one pick earlier ? Clearly, the Mets were scouting the Texas pitching staff since they later selected Calvin Schiraldi with their third choice in the first round.
As for McGwire, the Mets had the first choice in the 1984 draft and wound up taking Shawn Abner, but before the draft, strongly considered McGwire, clearly the best power hitter available with their number one pick. There were even reports that indicated the Mets were in negotiations with McGwire but when Mark and his father wouldn’t commit to signing, the Mets (and 8 other teams) passed on him and let him go to Oakland with the 10th pick.
Of course, who’s to say that even if the Mets had drafted and signed Clemens and McGwire, they wouldn’t have subsequently traded them away before they got more than a cup of coffee in the major leagues, as they did with Schiraldi, Abner, and Jefferson, but just imagine the 1986-1990 Mets (and maybe even beyond) with Clemens and McGwire!