Category Archives: Pedro Martinez

Pedro Week: The Many Faces of Pedro Martinez

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With Pedro Martinez set to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend, Fenway Pastoral takes a look back at some of the images of a baseball icon’s career in Boston.

When he played for Boston, Pedro was a man who radiated extremes. On the one hand, the man most fans saw the most of – the side we paid to see –  was intensely competitive and bitter. He took everything personally. Pedro once confirmed that, sadistically, he invented reasons to hate the opposition by going so far as to imagine twisted scenarios such as players bounding and gagging his mother and holding a knife to her throat. These were the things he conjured up when he dug deep for extra zip on a fastball.

This brooding made his sense of humor and playfulness all the more stark on those occasions when he’d let it out. Pedro was unapologetic; a man of complexities that, decades from now, will not be lost in the oversimplification that tends to come with the passage of time. He was indeed a pitcher of a thousand scowls on the mound, but he somehow seamlessly transitioned into the man who was infectiously personable off the field.

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Pedro Week: The Magazine Covers

With Pedro Martinez set to be inducted into the Hall of Fame next weekend, Fenway Pastoral takes a look back at some of the moments and images of a baseball icon’s career in Boston.

Sports Illustrated, April 1998

Pedro SI 1998

Beckett Baseball, 1999

Pedro Beckett Magazine 1999

The Sporting News, May 2000

Pedro Sporting News 2000

The SPorting News, February 2001

Pedro Sporting News 2001

Sports Illustrated, October 2003

Pedro SI Oct 2003

Pedro Week: Spring Training Portraits, 1998-2004

With Pedro Martinez set to be inducted into the Hall of Fame next weekend, Fenway Pastoral takes a look back at some of the moments and images of a baseball icon’s career in Boston.

The seven-year progression of the “first day of school”-style spring training portraits provides an interesting visual evolution of the dynamics that belied Pedro Martinez’s Boston career.


Pedro shows up in Fort Myers in February 1998 and dons the Red Sox uniform for the first time. He is a signature talent, representing a true rarity in the modern game–a non-homegrown ace changing teams on the cusp of his prime. Still, for all that talent, he wallows in relative obscurity because he had been pitching for the Montreal Expos in the waning days of the franchise’s existence. It may have been unjust, but it isn’t until he arrives in Boston that he will become a household name.

We see a solemn Pedro overwhelming the shadows at his back. There is a hardness, a guile. There is that ruthless intensity even before he’s thrown a meaningful pitch. There is a greatness restrained. It’s maybe easier to see now, in retrospect and with the benefit of knowing what he would do on the mound – particularly in the few years immediately following the taking of this photo. This is the young man coming into his own even as a lingering fear can be detected in his eyes.

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Pedro aced his first year in Boston, at the helm of a pitching staff for a team that returned to the playoffs the prior autumn thanks to the newly instituted Wild Card format. The team heads into the ’99 season with glimmering hope and genuine optimism. The city and the fans are on their feet, taking Pedro’s cue. That pesky stool is kicked away and basically nobody will sit down for six-plus months. Things have changed. Fenway hosts the All-Star Game. The team wins a playoff series against the team that had twice dispatched it with ease. Out of the darkness and into the light. The fear evident only a year earlier has struck out. Pedro looks cocky enough to already know what’s ahead.

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The Year After. How could any season follow Pedro’s 1999? The ’99 All-Star Game patch on the left sleeve is fittingly in full view. Nobody is quite ready to move on. Every start remains an unequivocal event. Pedro is again seated and there is now a visible weight on his shoulders. An earnest look in his eyes tell it all; they speak out to all those now looking on, paying the utmost attention. They plead, ask us for space. It’s not easy coming to realize you’ve been chosen to be a god.

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Slightly apprehensive excitement as Pedro begins what would ultimately be a lost season for the team and by what is now astronomical individual standards, disappointing in its brevity. Even in his 116 innings, he electrifies to the tune of the second-best K/9 rate of his career (12.6, behind only the 13.2 rate in 1999). By this time, he knows the evolution of his brand. The fans, the media, the league expect that his snarl on the mound will be balanced by a good-natured grin off the field. There is a bit less of Pedro to go around. Reservations are setting in.

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Pedro returns to form with a cool 199 innings. By this time at odds with various media and division foes, Pedro is still as charismatic as ever. He even bumps heads with his old pitching coach and (briefly) manager and comes out virtually unscathed. His name and popularity at this point are now in another stratosphere.

He shows a two-seam grip on the baseball in the shot, almost as though by default. Like it’s just easier to walk around this way so he can merely lift his arm when he is next asked to demonstrate it–a favorite go-to visual for countless unimaginative reporters during interviews.

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Pedro Martinez, prior to the final season when he was truly jaw-dropping (his ERA and home runs allowed totals would make their way north in 2004). On an individual level, this is the final year when it could be All About Pedro for any length of time. There was already Manny and, soon enough, there is also Ortiz. He is still the head honcho of the pitching staff and that is undisputed. But even that would change within a year. We were all better off for the evolution of it. As it turned out, Pedro couldn’t do it all himself even though he gave it about as noble an effort as he possibly could. This is his brightest, most polished look yet.

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Apprehension lurks behind the grin. Things are infinitely more complicated. Pedro’s legacy is even beginning to come into question by some looking for cheap bursts of attention. The naysayers come out, predictably in sync with his obvious mortality on the mound. He would finish fourth in the Cy Young voting–second fiddle even on his own team with Cy runner-up Curt Schilling now in the picture. His departure at the end of this year would be bittersweet for everyone.

He has the look here of someone who knows there are end points on the horizon. But it is not a look of unrest. He is at peace with his place. World Series title or not, Pedro’s status in Red Sox lore has already more or less been decided even if nobody can truly say that for sure.

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No Pedro no Pedro no Pedro no Pedro no Pedro no!!!

Photo from NY Daily News

Laughing our asses off at the Yankees’ Bartolo Colon signing was fun while it lasted (several side-splitting hours). But what if they get really slap-happy with former aces from the early 2000s and sign Pedro Martinez?

Why even bring it up this early? Because perhaps the more it is talked about now, the lesser the chance it actually happens later.

Martinez signing with those rat bastard Yankees at some point this season just seems to make too much sense as of this moment. Pedro hasn’t decided if he’ll pitch in 2011 yet. But he loves attention and New York loves fawning over its over-the-hill athletes. The Yankees will need another starter, perhaps not right away, but sometime in June, right when Martinez would likely join a team.

Meanwhile, Brian Cashman isn’t exactly the only one with his hands on the purse strings. (Yes, the Yankees carry their money in a very large purse. It’s not even European…)

It is highly unlikely that Pedro would sign with a team unwilling to both guarantee him a starting rotation slot and pay him the guaranteed money for a few months of his service. The Phillies paid him a base salary of $1 million in 2009 for 61 2/3 innings, including the 17 he pitched in the postseason.

After their embattled offseason, the Yankees may be the only team that can both extend him the “respect” of a seven-figure guarantee and a surefire spot in a contending team’s rotation. Last season, it was fun for Sox fans to imagine Pedro coming back to pitch effectively for some random NL contender. Seeing the legend get by on wile, guile and style alone for Philly in 2009 was oddly intriguing. Any Sox “fan” still begrudging him four years later for his departure in 2005 was, well, probably complaining how “boring” the team was last season anyway.

This season? John Henry and Theo Epstein might just have to bite the bullet and make sure if Pedro does indeed want to pitch again for a team in the Northeast, the Red Sox are the first and only team Martinez calls. Because Pedro in Pinstripes may be the only Fenway sight more perverse than the New Kids on the Block defiling the outfield later this summer.

A decade later, 1999 Pedro is taking his dominance worldwide

Anyone alive to witness the brilliance of 1999 Pedro knew the success of that season would have consequences that would reverberate for years to follow. True to form over the last decade, 1999 Pedro has become one of the world’s most powerful governing forces, surpassing once-impenetrable public and private institutions alike.

1999 Pedro’s relative statistical value has compounded itself exponentially in recent years to surpass the combined net worth of all 30 companies on the Dow Jones composite index.

“1999 Pedro really took advantage of the bear market bloodbath over the last two years,” said one market analyst declining to give a name or company for fear of obliteration. “All the value his FIP brought the Red Sox in 1999 was re-invested at bottom-market prices in distressed funds and struggling companies desperate to stay afloat. Now that those assets are rebounding, 1999 Pedro is a bonafide superpower.”

In an apt twist of fate, 1999 Pedro recently purchased a minority stake in John Henry’s investment business using an unreleased version of the iPhone while he was waiting for a table at the Cheesecake Factory. (He did not have time for dessert.)

Another industry analyst was impressed by 1999 Pedro’s conviction in overloading his portfolio with investments in foreign stocks and junk bonds rather than safer municipal bonds and stable commodities such as precious metals.

“Guys like 1996 Hentgen and 2003 Gagne pussyfooted around and got themselves bogged down in stagnant money markets and gold futures,” observed another marketplace analyst. “1999 Pedro went for the jugular when the economy was already barely able to gasp for air. He is just as shrewd as he ever was.”

1999 Pedro has also taken an increasing interest in utilizing his incredible resources to become involved in international politics. Earlier this year, 1999 Pedro provided $100 million in private aid to the African Union to fund security forces formed to thwart pirate hijackings in waterways adjacent to the Horn of Africa. Sources close to the pitcher say he also has funds tabbed to expedite the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under military junta house arrest in Myanmar since 1990. He is a routine contributor to charitable causes such as the United States Peace Corps, Doctors Without Borders and Amnesty International.

It is difficult to quantify how much 1999 Pedro would be worth if he were a free agent pitcher on the open market today. Ten years, after all, is a long time. The world is a different place. The dot-com bubble has long-since burst and El Nino proved itself as nothing more than Generation X’s version of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Meanwhile, economic globalization continues to present fresh new challenges to both well-established and burgeoning markets.

One professional agent claimed he would open negotiations by asking for a 25-year contract with annual salaries calculated as a variable percentage of the combined gross domestic products of all countries in North America with the national budget deficit of France as a signing bonus. A baseline for 1999 Pedro’s annual roster bonuses, says the agent, would be set at no lower than 5% of all net earnings from oil exported from Middle Eastern countries.

“I’m sure, even then, 1999 Pedro would take a few days to mull over his other options,” said the agent. “He’s that prolific. I mean, really incredible. If Bruce Wayne’s Bat Cave really exists, I’m convinced he’s sitting down there right now eating mangos with Morgan Freeman and 2005 David Ortiz.”

Another agent says, “I just hope 1999 Pedro and 2005 Bartolo are never in the same room together, because that poor guy would get annihilated.”