Oct 24, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitterDavid Ortiz
(left) hands a ball to former pitcherPedro Martinez
for the ceremonial first pitch prior to game two of the MLB baseball World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Normally, Red Sox Memories is written every Saturday morning on BoSoxInjection.com, but I decided to make those memories the starter for this Hall of Fame list. With Pedro being whom I think of for the 2004 World Series Championship year, let’s start with the hailed, righty starting pitcher from the Dominican Republic.
Martinez started his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but my first impression of his greatness came when I saw him play for the National League’s Montreal Expos. Like his predecessor, ‘El Presidente’ Dennis Martinez, chants of ‘Pedro’ filled Olympic Stadium, every time he pitched. In 1997, Pedro pitched a 17-8 record, with an astounding 1.90 ERA and 13 complete games, to win the Cy Young Award. His stuff was filthy and he had the air of greatness around him, as if he would go down in history as one of the best pitchers ever.
He got the chance to prove that in Boston, under the lights of the postseason. In 1999, Martinez pitched an even more incredible 23-4 record, with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts. He followed it up with a 1.73 ERA in 2000, to win his two remaining Cy Young Awards, this time in the American League.
Pedro’s postseason efforts were marred by two games against his “Daddy”, the New York Yankees, giving up nine runs in both outings. However, in his prime, Pedro won six games, especially against a tough-hitting St. Louis Cardinals team that included Albert Puljos. Martinez blanked them in seven innings, on Boston’s way to winning the World Series. Ironically, Pedro’s ‘daddy’ curse from the Yankees did not stop him from helping to break the Curse of the Bambino.
His sheer domination in the regular season alone should make for him entering the Hall of Fame first, if you had to rank this year’s ballot of players.