Pitcher – Pedro Martinez
Pedro Martinez captivated an audience unlike any pitcher who ever wore a Red Sox uniform. Every start was a must-see event. The atmosphere at Fenway was electric when he took the mound. We always knew there was a chance that we’d see something special if Pedro was involved.
His 1999-2000 seasons were the best two-year stretch by any pitcher that I’ve ever seen. Martinez went 41-10 with a 1.90 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 12.5 K/9 between those two seasons, capturing the Cy Young award both times. Pedro set the single-season franchise record with 313 strikeouts in ’99 and set an MLB record with a 0.73 WHIP the following year.
Martinez won two more ERA titles and finished top-4 on the Cy Young ballot in his final three seasons in Boston. He almost certainly would have won another ERA title to make it five consecutive if it weren’t for a rotator cuff injury limiting him to 18 games in 2001.
His final season with the Red Sox was far from his best as he posted a 3.90 ERA that was the highest of his career at the time while his 3.72 K/BB ratio was his lowest since he came to Boston. Martinez still came through when it mattered most in October and was a vital part of the 2004 championship team.
Martinez bolted to the New York Mets as a free-agent in 2005 but the lucrative deal they gave him backfired when they got only one good season out of him. His best years were in Boston so there’s no lingering hard feelings about him leaving.
Pedro came back to the organization after his playing days ended to serve as a mentor and special assistant. He is often seen working with players down in Fort Myers every spring. Martinez was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and he had his number retired at Fenway Park.
The longevity of his tenure with the team might give Roger Clemens an edge in terms of the best pitcher in franchise history but I was too young to remember the Rocket’s best years in Boston. Although, Roger Clemens MVP Baseball was one of my favorite Nintendo games as a kid. Pedro was better at his peak and I have many fond memories of him on the mound. That made Martinez an easy choice for this list.