Pitchers Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez, shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and longtime radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione have all joined the Red Sox Hall of Fame. For the players, it closes the circle from success to bitterness and back to success with their inductions.
Roger Clemens was the most dominating pitcher for the Red Sox since the Dead Ball Era. Cy Young and Smokey Joe Wood certainly had some prodigious numbers back when station-to-station ball was en vogue, but Roger was just about the best in the game for his Boston stay.
Clemens managed to win 192 games for Boston and three Cy Young Awards. In his last four Boston seasons, the “Texas Con Man,” as he was aptly called by sportswriter Will McDonough, went 40-39 for the Red Sox and left for Toronto after what he considered a low ball contract offer by GM Dan Duquette.
Clemens career made a remarkable recovery after those four seasons and he captured four more Cy Yong Awards. No doubt this miraculous recovery was due entirely to his “hard work,” as he once stated in an interview.
Pedro Martinez was captured from the Montreal Expos in a trade that actually showed Boston could get an Ace on the open market.
The charismatic Martinez became an instant legend in Boston and pushed the bad memories of the divorce with Clemens into the past history bucket. A Martinez start resembled a combination 4th of July celebration and weekend in Vegas with an unlimited expense account.
Enough seamheads have run the numbers to show that for a small segment of years, Martinez may have been the most dominating pitcher in the history of baseball. Nothing like a little hyperbole to puff up the local baseball gentry.
Martinez left for the same reasons as Clemens – money. The Red Sox balked over handing out the keys to the fiscal kingdom. With Clemens it was diminishing skill set and with Pedro questions of durability – I have seen better arms on a 40 year old sofa at the Goodwill store. There was serious questions as to when his arm would finally collapse, like the market in 2008. It did exactly that, only for the Mets, who emptied the cookie jar for over $50M.
Nomar Garciaparra was instant impact. This is what Xander Bogaerts was supposed to be.
Nomar was a five tool shortstop. A ROY winner and a two-time batting champion. A respectable fielder who stood atop the Red Sox offensive leadeboard in many a category. Even talk of (gasp) hitting .400! Then, it fell apart.
Injuries, especially to his wrist, surfaced, as did talk of internal carping going on in the bowels of the clubhouse. Things were getting negative around the Red Sox campfire and Nomar was in the center of it. He was traded mid-season and, problem solved. The Sox went on to win the World Series and Nomar played out his days as a nomadic wanderer. The Red Sox, however, did give him a ring in absentia for 2004.
Now all three are back and a big group hug has taken place. Bitter memories are buried and platitudes reign as all three are inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame. Some of the greatest positive moments in Red Sox history revolve around all three as they all enter.
The circle has closed.