Oct 25, 2016

2006 NL Eastern Champion Mets Pitcher& Hall of Famer: Pedro Martinez (2005-2008)

Pedro Jaime Martinez was born October 25th, 1971 in Manoguayabo, Dominican Republic. The five foot eleven right hander was signed by the Los Angeles dodgers as an amateur free agent in 1988.

Pedro would pitch two seasons with the Dodgers going 10-5 with a 2.61 ERA in the 1993 season.

In November 1993 he was traded to the Montreal Expos for Delino Deshields. He would pitch four years with the Expos starting out in the strike shortened 1994 season where he was 11-5 for the first place Expos. That year no post season games were played & the Expos missed out on their second chance at getting to the playoffs. In 1995 he went 14-10 with a 3.51 ERA.

On June 3rd he pitched nine perfect innings against the San Diego Padres, but left in a scoreless game in the 9th inning. He earned the win in the 1-0 win.

By 1997 he was becoming one of the games top pitchers winning his first Cy Young Award. He led the NL in ERA 1.90 & complete games (13). He went 17-8 striking out 305 batters (second in the NL) with the best strike out per nine inning ratio in the league.

In November 1997 with his free agency looming, he was traded with Carl Pavano to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later, Tony Armas. The Sox gave him the largest contract ever given to a pitcher up to that point. In his first year he was 19-7 with a 2.89 ERA.

In 1999 he won his second Cy Young Award, leading the league in wins (23) going 23-4 with one of the best pitching seasons ever. He also led the league in winning % (.852%) ERA (2.07) & strike outs (313). That year he was second in the MVP voting as well. He was only the eighth pitcher to ever put in back to back 300 plus strike out seasons.

That season he put together a record setting ten game win streaks to start out a season. He also had a record streak with strike outs in 40 consecutive innings. In that record setting streak, Pedro averaged 15 strike outs per nine innings.

Post Season: in the 1999 ALDS against the Cleveland Indians, he was forced to leave the series opener with a strained back. He came in relief in Game #5 in the third inning of an 8-8 tie. He went on to pitch six scoreless innings earning the 12-8 win.

In the ALCS he defeated the rival AL New York club & steroid user Roger Clemens, in Game #3 handing them their only post season loss.

In 2000 he started out the year with a 17 strike out game on May 6th, in a heart breaking 1-0 loss to the Tampa Rays. In his next start he struck out 15 Baltimore Orioles in a 9-0 shut out. He won Cy Young Award number three, as he went 18-6 on the year leading the league in ERA (1.74) Shut outs 94) & strike outs (284). Injuries held him to 18 starts going 7-3 in 2001.

In 2002 he won twenty games for the second & final time in his career, going 20-4 with the league’s best win % (.833%). He also led the league in strike outs for the third & final time (239) as well as ERA 2.26. He won another ERA title again in 2003.

Post Season: In Game #3 of the ALCS after allowing runs in three straight innings, Pedro hit the AL New York teams; Karim Garcia with a pitch in the shoulder.

The bench started shouting at Martinez & he pointed to his head meaning he will remember what catcher Jorge Posada was mumbling about. This caused coach Don Zimmer to come out after Pedro, Martinez shoved him aside & the old coach fell to the floor. Benches cleared but order was restored.
In the Red Sox 2004 history making season Pedro was 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA second on the staff to Curt Schilling (21 wins & a 3.26 ERA).
Post Season: In the post season he was the winning pitcher in the ALDS Game #2 against the Anaheim Angels. In the ALCS he took the loss in Game #2, although he pitched well three runs on four hits over six innings.

He came in relief in the 7th inning, Game #7 as the Sox completed the greatest comeback in sports history, sweeping the AL New York club after being down three games to none.

In the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals he was the winning pitcher in Game 3 pitching seven scoreless innings. He was part of the Red Sox first championship team since 1918 making Boston sports history.

In December 2004 he signed on with the New York Mets. The acquisition of Pedro along with center fielder Carlos Beltran brought a lot of excitement to Shea Stadium. Pedro made his Mets debut on Opening Day 2005 in Cincinnati. He earned decision after pitching six innings allowing three runs on three hits, striking out twelve Reds.

His next start was a beauty; he earned his first Mets win as he pitched a complete game two hit one run game in Atlanta beating the Braves.

In his New York debut he earned no decision pitching seven innings against the Florida Marlins. Pedro gave up two runs on three hits; as the Mets went on to win it with a walk off Ramon Castro base hit. After a 2-1 April he went on to win five straight decisions. With a 7-1 record at the start of June and a 2.45 ERA, Pedro quickly became a fan favorite at Shea Stadium.

On June 7th he tossed anther two hit, one run performance at Shea, beating the Houston Astros. He matched his season high strikeout total with 12. At the All Star break he was 10-3 among the top pitchers in the league in wins, ERA & strike outs. He made the All Star team but did not pitch in the game held at Comercia Field in Detroit.

After the break he beat the Atlanta Braves & Los Angeles Dodgers at home, besting his record to 12-3. In August he struggled at 2-3 but still held his ERA under two at 2.90.

In September he was 2-2 finishing up the year as the Mets top pitcher He was 15-8 (9th in the NL in wins) with the league’s best winning % (.652). Pedro was the best pitcher in the NL in strike out to walks ratio with a 4.426% .

He was fifth in the league with an 8.62 strike outs per inning ratio, with 208 strike outs (3rd in the NL) & just 47 walks in 217 innings pitched. He posted a 2.82 ERA (4th in the NL) with four complete games (3RD most in the NL).

The 2006 Mets season began with allot of promise, as Carlos Delgado, Paul Loduca, José Valentin & Xavier Nady joined an already good team. Pedro debuted in the third game of the season beating the Washington Nationals even though he allowed five runs. His next start in Washington was a seven inning three hit 3-1 victory.

On April 22nd in San Diego, Pedro struck out eleven Padres in a seven inning one run performance. He started out the year winning his first five games going 5-0. In May he got five no decisions as the bullpen blew two more chances he had a victories.

In a May 26th start against the Florida Marlins he was instructed by umpires to change his undershirt as it was interfering with the vision of the pitches. He slipped in the run way injuring his hip & although it was not known at the time, affected his pitching.

In June Pedro went 2-3 , on June 28th he returned to Boston pitching at Fenway Park. He was greeted with an eight run, seven hit Red Sox out bursts, sending him to the showers after three innings.

That outing led to injuries where he would miss the next month. Four starts later he went down for another month returning in mid September. By then the Mets were ready to clinch the NL Eastern Division,

Pedro would close out the year losing his last four starts. After his last ineffective start he was seen in the dugout with tears in his eyes from pain. An MRI showed a torn rotator cuff, & a torn calf muscle. He would not be able to pitch in the post season & be highly missed by the ball club.

Possibly a healthy Pedro would have at least advanced the Mets to the World Series. The Mets also lost pitcher Orlando Hernandez & eventually lost the NLCS to the St. Louis Cardinals. He ended the year 9-8 with a 4.48 ERA, making 23 starts. He struck out 137 batters in 132 innings.

Pedro missed most of the 2007 season, returning from his surgery in September. On September 3rd he pitched for the first time in almost a year, making a start in Cincinnati. In five innings he gave up three runs on five hits earning a win in the Mets 10-5 victory. He returned to Shea Stadium on September 9th getting a win over the Houston Astros. He finished up the Mets miserable two last weeks of the season with a loss to the Cardinals on September 27th. He went 3-1 in the month with a 3.57 ERA in five games.

In 2008 there was promise for Pedro after what looked like a successful return from the surgery. But in the second game of the season in the fourth inning he heard a pop.

He went down with a hamstring injury sidelining him for the next two months. ON June 3rd he returned pitching six strong innings, allowing three runs earning a win in San Francisco. His fastball was never the same again, he went .500 most of the season, going 5-6 with a 5.61. It was the highest ERA posting of his career.

In 2008 the Mets missed the post season once again, losing on the last day of the season in the final game ever played at Shea Stadium. After the season he was let go to free agency & that winter he displayed he was healthy by pitching six strong innings in the World Baseball Classic. In his Mets career he pitched 79 games going 32-23 (.582%) with a 3.88 ERA, 464 strike outs & 137 walks in 486 innings.

In July 2009 he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, debuting at Wrigley Field on August 12th. He earned a win in five innings pitched.

On August 23rd he returned to Shea Stadium & earned a 907 win after pitching six innings, allowing four runs. The game ended on a very unusual unassisted triple play. On September 13th he pitched eight innings of shut ball against his old Mets team mates beating Tim Redding in a 1-0 pitchers duel.

Post Season: On the year he was 5-1 helping the Phillies to the post season. He appeared in the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, pitching seven shutout innings in the Game #2 loss but earned no decision. In the World Series he was the losing pitcher in two of the games. Pedro retired after the season.

In an 18 year career he won three Cy Young Awards, made eight All Star teams & won a World Series, making five trips to the post season. He was 219-100, for a .687 winning % (6th best all time) he is also 76th all time in wins.

He had 3154 strike outs (13th all time) with the third best strike out per nine inning ratio (10.04 per game).

In his career he is tied for third all time with the most 15 plus strike out games (10). Pedro walked 760 batters in 2827 innings pitched (165th all time) in 409 starts (119th all time) in 476 games. He had 17 shut outs, with 46 complete games.

Honors: In 2015 Pedro was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Quotes: Pedro at his induction speech: “I would like to thank God for the opportunity of being here. I would like all of you to not look at me as numbers, as baseball, as achievements. I would like you to actually see me as a sign of hope for a Third World country, for Latin America, someone that you can really look up to, and feel comfortable enough to say, ‘I’m proud of you.’ ”

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