Pedro Martinez Wanted To Be A Yankee
Pedro Martinez was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday with 91.1% of the vote. After spending seven of his 18 years in Boston with the Red Sox, he will be entering the Hall with a red B on his cap. However, on Monday Pedro stated that he actually wanted to be a New York Yankee.
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Martinez broke into the majors in 1992 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. After moving to the now defunct Expos in 1994, he really began to make a name for himself. By 1996 he was an All-Star and in 1997 he won his first of three Cy Young Awards. The Expos were trading away players, and he wanted a chance to win in the Bronx.
“I was almost traded to New York more than once. A lot of people don’t know that. I wanted the trade to happen. I wanted out of Montreal. I wanted to go to the best team out there…I knew how George went about his (job) to try to win for New York, for the fans.”
Rather than have his wish granted, he was instead sent to Boston. He spent 7 years with the Red Sox, going 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA. He had 1,683 strikeouts in 1,383.2 innings and a 190 ERA+. 1998-2004 was the height of the Yankees Red Sox rivalry and Martinez was at the center of most of the best games and fights.
The Yankees won the World Series in 1998, 1999, and 2000 and won the AL pennant in both 2001 and 2003. The Red Sox were becoming contenders at this time and 2003 brought one of the most memorable fights in baseball history. The two teams met in the 2003 ALCS.
After Martinez hit Yankee Karim Garcia with a pitch in the top of the fourth, Roger Clemens nearly hit Manny Ramirez in the head with a pitch in the bottom of the fourth. The benches cleared and Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer went right for Martinez.
In a move that will never be forgotten, Martinez took Zimmer by the head and brought him to the ground. Zimmer was 72 and Martinez was 31. He instantly turned into the biggest villain in the biggest rivalry in sports.
September 2004 brought a new angle to Pedro’s relationship with the Yankees. After a tough loss to the Bronx Bombers Martinez famously stated, “What can I say? Just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy.” Yankees fans never let Martinez live that down, bringing in posters and chanting whenever Martinez was in town.
Hearing that Martinez wanted to be a Yankee is a bit of a surprise, but he has never been one to mince his words. He has always been very honest throughout his career. He has always appreciated the rivalry and Yankees fans, even when they hated him.
Yesterday marked an incredible day for Pedro Martinez. He is a first ballot Hall of Famer and no one can take that away from him. While it is difficult to imagine Pedro spending his best years in pinstripes, I’m sure he wouldn’t have a hard time calling George Steinbrenner his daddy.