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Astros starter Roger Clemens pitches to Cubs counterpart Greg Maddux on April 29, 2005, at Minute Maid Park. The matchup of 300-game winners was the first in the National League since 1892.

Second in a series

As the Astros play their 20th season at Minute Maid Park, we are counting down the 20 most memorable games and/or moments in the ballpark’s two decades.

Today, we look at No. 19: a historic matchup of 300-game winners Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux.

When: April 29, 2005
Score: Cubs 3, Astros 2

When Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux faced off against each other in the Astros-Cubs series opener, it was something the National League hadn’t seen in some time.

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Try nearly 113 years.

The Clemens-Maddux matchup was the first time two NL pitchers with 300 or more career wins faced off since July 21, 1892, when the Philadelphia Phillies’ Tim Keefe and St. Louis Browns’ Jim “Pud” Galvin dueled. It was baseball’s first meeting of 300-game winners since the Angels’ Don Sutton and Twins’ Steve Carlton faced each other Aug. 4, 1987.

Neither Clemens nor Maddux disappointed a sellout crowd of 41.232. Clemens tossed seven innings of three-run ball and struck out four while Maddux allowed two runs in six innings and struck out three. He picked up the win after a leadoff home run by Conroe native Jeromy Burnitz broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning.
The April 30, 2005, front page of the Houston Chronicle after the Astros’ Roger Clemens and Cubs’ Greg Maddux faced off in the National League’s first matchup of 300-game winners in 113 years.
Photo: Houston Chronicle

For Maddux, the victory was No. 306 of his career. Clemens entered the start with 329 wins. Following the game, Astros officials collected each starter’s cap and a baseball autographed by the two to send to the Hall of Fame.

They said it: “Maybe I’m just an idiot for not (focusing on the significance), but I was just trying to win,” Maddux said after notching his first victory of the season “I’m trying to get a win. I wasn’t really concerned about who I was pitching against until he was hitting.”

“Greg, I feel very privileged to have pitched at the time he did,” Clemens said. “We have a lot of (active players) that I think — you can maybe count them on your hand — are future Hall of Famers, if you will. For him to weather the storm and get to 300 also, I tip my hat to him. He’s somebody I enjoy watching very much.”

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