It’s been a solid week of love letters, essays and expositions on Pedro Martinez, that Dominican Dandy with three masterful pitches and a flair for the dramatic.
His numbers can be perused, of course, on websites and the backs of baseball cards. But I wanted another way to look at them while paying homage to his outstanding career.
So, please enjoy my graphic interpretation of Pedro Martinez, from Los Angeles to Philadelphia and all the stops, wins and records between.
Click through for the full-size. And long live the memory of Pedro Martinez, from bean balls to strikeouts, from losses to wins. And thank you all, dear readers, for tuning in for Pedro Week.
I like to think he just made a batter's jaw drop here, bat on the shoulder for strike 3.
A couple of weeks ago, I tuned into a Red Sox-Twins game on my laptop and watched Josh Beckett twirl a gem for the good guys. Beckett blanked Minnesota through seven innings, and while he worked, I thought about how routine Beckett had made that seem in 2007. And whenever I start to think about pitching and dominance, of course, I think about Pedro Martinez.
I took out my notebook, and started to doodle. It was Pedro, locked in on home plate, in mid-delivery, likely about to send a pitch that would rocket back to the Bambino’s ass.
He last pitched for the Sox seven seasons ago, and worked his magic here for seven seasons total (well, 6½ seasons if we consider the 2001 disaster). But like his fastball, like his curve, like his changeup, those seven years went by in a flash. I was sitting in health class in high school when I learned that he’d signed his contract after being traded to Boston that winter, and I was sitting in a newsroom, a few months after graduating from college, when I learned that the Red Sox let him leave to sign with the New York Mets.
Did I even get to enjoy him? Continue reading
Sometimes, Pedro had to grip the ball, bear down and work.
By 2003, the shine of invincibility came off of Pedro Martinez a bit. He was still the ace of the staff and one of the elite pitchers in the game, and that was never in question. But he’d lost a little on his fastball, and his stamina was down. As would be famously demonstrated later in the season, he was typically gassed after 100 pitches.
One August start has always stood out to me, an odd combination of gutty performance and brilliance. On a late summer night in Fenway Park in Boston, Pedro worked through the Anaheim Angels for a 4-2 win to keep the Red Sox within striking distance of the first-place Yankees in the division.
But he did not do it easily. Continue reading
Editor’s note: It is an honor to hand the ball to Cee Angi, who has graciously offered this piece for Pedro Week.
Pedro was artistic, but he had a temper.
Full Disclosure: I have dated two Yankees fans.
The most recent was last year. We met through a mutual friend at a party, and he asked for my phone number. Successful and handsome, I considered him out of my league, but when he called I agreed to meet him for coffee.
We met before class, which parlayed into skipping class and getting a little handsy in a public park while we stared at the stars listening to a Pavement concert across the street.
The next date, he took me to a nice dinner where he seemed incredibly nervous. Sweaty and uncomfortable, nose crinkled as though he smelled something offensive. I asked if he was alright, and he stammered through his answer, staring at his dinner plate.
“After I got your number, I googled you. I don’t know how to tell you this, but… I’m a Yankees fan.”
Dinner with the enemy. Continue reading
Pedro just came at batters in 1999. It must have been terrifying.
If Pedro Martinez was only a personality with colorful opinions and ideas on what it means to be a pitcher in the major leagues, then he would still be worthy of a story or two within publications and websites dedicated to all things wonderful in baseball.
But Pedro was more than that. And if there’s any one reason why a little site like this can afford to dedicate an entire week to one man, then 1999 is that reason.
1968 is often said to be the true Year of the Pitcher, but if any pitcher ever truly owned a year, it was Pedro in ’99. His 2000 season was likely better, and he won a Cy Young Award in 1997 as well with Montreal. But in 1999, a reputation of dominance and unbending brilliance was born. I mean, we can run through the numbers first. Continue reading