Fair warning. This entry will be completely void of any kind of rational perspective. I pretty much adore Pedro Martinez more than half the people I’m related to…and I’m related to a boatload of people. So you’ve been warned.
Oh yeah…there will be language…salty language ahead. So there’s that too.
Holy shitballs, Pedro is going into the Hall of Fame!
I mean, honestly, in my mind it’s a no-brainer. First year on the ballot I expected. 100% of the votes I wanted. Can’t have everything, I suppose.
According to Jeff Jacobs at the Hartford Courant, 549 writers voted for the Hall of Fame inductees and of those 49 DIDN’T vote for Pedro Martinez. This boggles, utterly BOGGLES my mind. Â How anyone who lived and watched baseball during Pedro’s time on the mound couldn’t vote for him is unfreakingbelievable to me (and to Jeff Jacobs as well).
Still, forty-nine writers out 549 didn’t vote for Martinez and it drives me nuts. Forty-nine must not have been there on Sept. 10, 1999, when Pedro struck out 17 world champion-bound Yankees and allowed only one hit â€” a homer by Chili Davis â€” that even had fans at Yankee Stadium cheering him.
Forty-nine writers must not have been watching the 1999 All-Star Game that unforgettable night at Fenway Park when he went Carl Hubbell on the National League and struck out five â€” Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Jeff Bagwell â€” of the six hitters he faced.
Forty-nine must not have been watching the fifth game of the 1999 ALDS in Cleveland when Pedro, in considerable pain from a back injury, risked his career to come out of the bullpen with the entire Red Sox season on the line. If they had, those 49 would have seen a guy without velocity, yet with more guts than a slaughterhouse, pitch six no-hit innings.
I obviously agree with all of the above (please click the link above and read the rest of Jeff’s piece…it’s a wonderful representation of genuine appreciation for greatness) and I’ll add something else to the mix. Â 49 writers just decided to fuck with the process because they know they can. There’s always a handful, right? How many people who vote for the Hall of Fame will tell you no one should be voted in unanimously? How the good frig do you make that assessment?
I had a teacher in the fifth grade, Mrs. Richards, who used that kind of logic in grading her students. Â I busted my ass in school because I had to. I was sick as a child and no one outside my family expected much from me, but I turned out to be an honor student. Except in the fifth grade. Even though my grades were all perfect, in the fifth grade I got all A’s and one B. Â A freaking B. Â And the only reason I got a B was because Mrs. Richards didn’t think any student was perfect so she gave me a damn B.
(Not that I’m bitter some thirty-something years later. Nope, not me.)
Anyhoo…back to Pedro. Â The 1999 ALDS game Jeff Jacobs mentioned is possibly one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in baseball. (Sure I didn’t see it in person, but holy hell tell me the image of Pedro coming out of the bullpen and the collective look of “Oh shit, we are so freaking DOOMED” on the faces of the Indians doesn’t send chills up your spine.) There were so many remarkableÂ Pedro moments that baseball fans could fight for months about which one truly was the greatest.
HOWÂ WAS THIS MAN NOT UNANIMOUSLY VOTED INTO THE DAMN HALL OF FAME?????
It doesn’t matter if he was pitching as an active player, throwing out the first pitch at a game or talking about baseball on ESPN or NESN…seeing Pedro did and does give me chills. For me, and many like me, he is otherworldly. Where we look at a player like Kevin Millar and pretend he’s “one of us” there’s none of that with Pedro. There is NO ONE like Pedro except Pedro. That’s it. Period. End of freaking story. He’s Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox all wrapped in one. Â Screw that, he’d kick Paul Bunyan’s ass and eat Babe for breakfast.
In 2012 I met Pedro at the New Stars for Young Stars January charity event (sadly not happening this year). I remember very little about it. Seriously. There are two photo, one of the back of my head as I watch Pedro and his wife look at the photo I brought to be signed and another of Kelly O’Connor stooping down to tell Pedro how much she enjoyed watching him play. If not for those two photos the entire day would be a blank. Now, my memory is spotty at best but meeting the player I love more than Twinkies (and God knows I love me some Hostess yellow cakes) is something you think I’d remember. But I don’t. And the reason is because even as it was happening. As I was standing next to him and talking to him and laughing with him and his wife…I wasn’t really there. I was dreaming that the best pitcher in my lifetime was in front of me…and when it was over it hovered in my mind in that fog most of your dreams stay in unless you write them down.
And luckily I DID write it down! (Trigger warning: I met Bobby Valentine that day too and not only found him not horrible but I was nice to him too.) I wrote the line above about my mind in a fog before I reread what I wrote the day I met Pedro. Â How’s this for being consistent?
It was an amazing experience that I wouldnâ€™t trade but it was a bit rushed and still feels like it all happened in a fog.
You can’t talk about Pedro without mentioning that along with his pitching prowess, the guy was (IS) a walking sound byte. Karim Garcia (who?) lives eternally in Red Sox lore thanks to Pedro. So do mango trees, Gerald Williams and Babe Ruth’s ass. Â (As an aside, I once worked with a woman who typed up Pedro’s comment about Babe Ruth and hung it in her cubicle. She didn’t even have a picture of her husband in her cube but she had a Pedro quote hanging there.)
Pedro deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. To me that is an absolute. For his performance on the mound, for his character and just for being Pedro Fucking Martinez. So it’s safe to say, I’m a happy gal today.
I love Pedro Martinez with all of my heart. When every man I’ve ever loved is long forgotten, Pedro will still be strong in my heart. I love, love, love him.
Now…how the hell am I going to pull off a trip to Cooperstown this summer?