Sunday, January 11, 2015

Congratulations, Pedro! (A little belated...)

Pedro Martinez is going to Cooperstown! Yeah, yeah... I know I'm a little late to the party but these days, I'm lucky if I remember my own name, so better late than never. Like most Red Sox fans, I loved Pedro. His way of getting the job done was always fun to watch, not to mention his ridiculous personality. He actually told TMZ Sports a couple days ago that he hoped his Jheri curl makes an appearance on his Hall of Fame plaque. I'm just hoping it's a Red Sox cap covering those curls.

I could go on and on about his accomplishments — three-time Cy Young winner, eight-time All-Star, five-time ERA champion and three-time strikeout champion, but who doesn't already know all this? He pitched in two World Series but only won one... one very, very memorable World Series for Red Sox fans. But really more impressive is the baseball era in which he dominated as a pitcher... the dreaded steroid era. And he always pitched clean.

During Pedro's career with the Red Sox, I never once got to see him pitch. Believe me, I'm still bitter about this. One summer, I honestly can't remember when, I went to a game with my parents. It was a drizzly, miserable night but Pedro was scheduled to pitch and I was so excited, it could've been snowing and I wouldn't have cared. About 15 minutes before the game was to start, the public address announcer says there's been a change in the line up and Pedro Martinez would not be pitching. I looked at my parents and said, "I want to go home." But we didn't because that would've been silly. I was so pissed!

It wasn't until 2006 when Martinez returned to pitch at Fenway Park as a New York Met that I finally got to see him live. The cheer he got as a visiting pitcher was thunderous. But the Sox kicked his ass so that was fun too!

I don't think I saw Pedro again at Fenway Park until April 20, 2012 — the 100th anniversary game. But that day, I saw just about everyone through my tears of joy. Pedro and Kevin Millar led all of Fenway Park in a toast to 100 years, complete with what appeared to be a bottle of champagne each. It was funny, touching and perfect.

Congratulations, Pedro... I can't think of any Red Sox pitcher in my lifetime that deserved a first ballot induction into the Hall of Fame more. I wish I could be in Cooperstown with you to celebrate! And congrats also to his classmates, Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson and John Smoltz.

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