Red Sox: Top seven Pedro Martinez moments

Jul 28, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Hall of Fame player Pedro Martinez waves to the crowd during his number retirement ceremony before the game between the Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Hall of Fame player Pedro Martinez waves to the crowd during his number retirement ceremony before the game between the Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports /

One year after his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, here are Pedro Martinez’s top seven moments as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

Pedro Martinez: eight-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young award-winner, five-time ERA leader, three-time American League strikeout leader, All-Star Game MVP, Triple Crown Winner, World Series Champion and, more recently, member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In a time where even the best of hitters made use of performance-enhancing drugs to improve their offensive prowess, the man affectionately referred to as Petey dominated Major League Baseball, recording career totals of 3154 strikeouts, 219 wins, a .687 win-loss percentage, and a 2.93 career ERA.

During his seven years with the Red Sox, fans witnessed Pedro in his prime, and cemented a lifelong bond with the city of Boston. Perhaps more importantly, we had a front-row seat to his great sense of humor, and that is where we begin with his top seven moments as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

Tied For Numer Seven: Yoda & The Tape

One of the perks of being a starting pitcher is that, on days where they are not on the mound, they get to just sit in the dugout, put on a jacket and enjoy the game, at least for the most part.

On August 27, 1998, the Red Sox squared off against the Oakland Athletics. With Pete Schourek on the mound for Boston and Tom Candiotti for Oakland, the Red Sox lost to the Athletics 6-3, however, that did not come without a little comic relief. In the top of the first inning, Pedro Martinez came out wearing the jersey of fellow-pitcher Jim Corsi and a Yoda mask, perhaps out of excitement for the upcoming movie,  “Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace” that would be released the next year.

The following season, on June 25, Red Sox fans once again were treated with the Martinez-humor, when fellow teammates Nomar Garciaparra and Mark Portugal taped Pedro to a pole in the dugout. The taping came during a 6-1 win over the Chicago White Sox. Pedro would go on to start the following day, leading the Red Sox to a 17-1 victory over the White Sox.

Number Six: Pedro Causes Benches To Clear

There are two things in life that I know for sure: don’t invade Russia in the winter and don’t get on Pedro Martinez’s bad side. If you’re at all familiar with his career, you’ll know that Pedro is chin music’s premier virtuoso. He had no problem hitting batters, starting fights, and defending his teammates. The average individual may call it barbaric, but to the average baseball fan its called old school. Here, in this August 29, 2000, 8-0 win against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Martinez beamed outfielder Gerald Williams, providing a perfect example of Pedro’s fiery presence on the mound.

Number Five: Game 3 Of The 1999 American League Championship Series

Pedro hated (still hates?) the New York Yankees. Martinez became infamous for his performances against the Yankees. In Game Three of the 1999 American League Championship Series, Pedro let up only two hits in seven innings, striking out an astonishing twelve batters.

On top of an outstanding performance by Martinez, the Red Sox offense came out of the gate swinging, beating the Yankees 13-1, with home runs from John Valentin, Brian Daubach, and Nomar Garciaparra. The Yankees would go on the win the series in five games, and win their twenty-fifth World Series.

Number Four: Strikes Out Seventeen Yankees In A One-Hit Victory

On September 10, 1999 Pedro pitched a complete game, recording seventeen strikeouts and giving up only one hit on a solo shot by Chili Davis. The Red Sox went on to beat the Yankees 3-1. This is, perhaps, the finest example of Pedro’s dominance over the Yankees, and it came during Pedro’s greatest season in the Major Leagues.

In 1999, Pedro Martinez not only won the American League Cy Young, but also the Triple Crown, recording this highest total of strikeouts (313), ERA (2.07), and wins (23). He finished second in MVP voting behind Ivan Rodriguez. His 1999 season is one of the greatest in the history of professional pitching.

Number Three: Game Three of the 2004 World Series 

After the Red Sox made the greatest come back in baseball history by winning the 2004 American League Championship Series, they squared off against the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Pedro Martinez took the mound for the Red Sox in Game Three, facing off against Jeff Suppan and an offense that featured Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, Edgar Renteria, and Tony Womack. In seven shutout innings, Pedro struck out six, allowing only three hits.

The Red Sox started out Game Three strong with a first-inning home run by Manny Ramirez. They would go on to win the game 4-1, with the only St. Louis run coming from a solo shot by Larry Walker in the ninth inning off Keith Foulke, who would go on to secure the save and place the Red Sox only one win away from their first World Series victory in eighty-six years.

Number Two: The Immaculate Inning

Although he never pitched a no-hitter or a perfect game, Pedro Martinez did something that, in its own way, may be just as impressive: he pitched an immaculate inning. In the history of Major League Baseball, there have been 23 perfect games, 294 no-hitters, and only 77 immaculate innings.

On May 18, 2002, in the first inning against the Seattle Mariners, Pedro struck out Ichiro Suzuki, Mark McLemore, and Ruben Sierra on nine pitches. Pedro would go on to allow only six hits in a 4-1 victory over the Mariners.

Number One: 5 Strikeouts In Two Innings at the 1999 All-Star Game

Pedro is not only an athlete, he is a performer. And he had no greater stage than the 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park. With the end of the 20th century came the recognition of Major League Baseball’s All -Century Team, where the game’s greatest heroes and stars were honored and celebrated by fans past and present. For Red Sox and baseball fans alike, perhaps the greatest moment of the night came when Ted Williams took a lap around the field and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

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Taking the mound for the American League, on his home turf, Pedro came out firing, providing fans with one of the greatest performances by a pitcher in All-Star game history. He began the first inning by striking out the side: a one, two, three line-up featuring future Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, and Sammy Sosa. Pedro began the second inning by striking out Mark McGwire. Matt Williams then reached first base on an error. Then, with Jeff Bagwell at the plate, Pedro and catcher Ivan Rodriguez ended the inning on a “strike ’em out, throw ’em out” as Williams attempted to steal second.