Pedro Martinez only spent seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox. But man did he make them count. Arguably the most dominant pitcher of his era, the Dominican native grew into an MLB legend after arriving in Boston. Blessed with a tremendous fastball, a devastating changeup and a classic curveball, Martinez set numerous records en route to a Hall of Fame career.
Now 48 years old, Martinez’s love for the game has never wavered. His post-playing career reveals a man who has never lost his passion for baseball. Whether it’s been on television or in the dugout, he’s still giving back to the game that made him a very wealthy and well-known sports icon.
Pedro Martinez put up historic numbers in seven seasons with Red Sox
Pedro Martinez hailed from a baseball family. His older brother, Ramon Martinez, starred for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The younger brother eventually joined the same squad and displayed flashes of brilliance. However, the Dodgers traded Pedro to the Montreal Expos, where he began to build a reputation as a flame-throwing, knee-buckling pitching savant.
But after the Red Sox managed to wrestle Martinez away for a few prospects, his career took off. In his first season in Boston, the 26-year-old right-hander went 19-7 with a 2.89 ERA. However, his next two seasons rank among the best in MLB history. Martinez’s 1999 Cy Young campaign included a staggering 23-4 record to go along with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts in just 213.1 innings. He followed up with another stunning season that included a 1.74 ERA—a ridiculous mark considering he pitched in the steroid era. Martinez took home another Cy Young award, the third of his young career.
After posting a 2.26 ERA in 2002 and narrowly missing out on his fourth Cy Young, Martinez started to decline slightly. However, with a powerful lineup centered around Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, the Red Sox managed to make history in 2004. From Curt Schilling’s bloody sock to Dave Roberts stealing second, the Red Sox battled back against the New York Yankees and won the American League crown. Boston swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, with Martinez taking home the win in Game 3.
Martinez elected to Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015
After capping off his Red Sox career in championship fashion, Martinez signed a four-year, $53 million contract with the New York Mets. In his first year in a Mets uniform, he went 15-8 with a 2.82 ERA. It went downhill from there, as Martinez started just 23 games in 2006 and eventually retired after a brief tour in Philadelphia in 2009.
Of course, the next stop for Martinez was Cooperstown. In 2015, he earned 500 of a possible 549 votes and joined a prodigious Hall of Fame class that included fellow pitchers Randy Johnson and John Smoltz. Along with long-time Houston Astros legend Craig Biggio, the four-person class encapsulated everything that was great about baseball in the late ’90s and early 2000s.
Martinez entered the Hall of Fame after recording 3,154 strikeouts in just 2,827.1 innings pitched. He won five ERA titles and currently ranks seventh in MLB history with a .687 winning percentage. Not bad for a pitcher who many doubted was too small to ever make it to the big leagues, let alone become an all-time great.
Red Sox legend still giving back to the game
During his Red Sox career, Martinez became a fan favorite because of his big personality and fun-loving attitude. At the same time, he was incredibly competitive on game day and played with a cerebral fire and intensity that often went unmatched. Pedro’s bright smile, knowledge of the game and ability to connect with the fans made him a logical fit for television. Martinez began working for MLB Network as a studio analyst in 2015, where he has been able to deliver tremendous insight. He is featured most prominently on the network’s Emmy Award-winning studio show MLB Tonight.
Of course, Pedro has also stayed active on the field. The Red Sox hired him as a special assistant to the general manager in 2013, and he has been an impactful presence throughout the years. In Alex Cora’s first year at the helm, Martinez spent time working with the pitching staff in spring training. So while his days in a Red Sox uniform are long gone, Pedro is still paying it forward to the next generation of Boston baseball.