Red Sox Martinez In Cooperstown

By Joe Jacobs 7/26/2015

Pedro's return!There will never be another #45 on the Boston Red Sox roster.

That’s because Pedro Martinez was emblazoned in Major League Baseball history today. He and three others were inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Martinez was enshrined in baseball’s holy grail in a Red Sox cap, the city where he had his most success.

The right-hander won his only World Series ring in Boston, as well as two of his three Cy Young awards, posting a 117-37 record in Beantown.

During the early 2000s, Martinez was synonymous with the Red Sox, as throngs of fans packed Fenway Park on the days Martinez would pitch so that they could witness the artist carve through opposing lineups.

Martinez will go down in history as one of the greatest Red Sox to ever play the game, but during his induction speech Martinez told the 45,000 people in attendance that he wanted to be remembered for something else.

“I would like all of you to not look at me as numbers, as baseball, as achievements,” he said. “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.'”

A sea of Dominican flags waved during Martinez’s speech, as well as chants of “Pedro, Pedro, Pedro.” The 43-year-old Martinez honored his home country when he stated, “It’s a great moment, not only for me, for my family; it’s a great moment for the Dominican Republic and Latin America.”

Martinez is only the second player from the small island nation to have a plaque in baseball’s Mount Olympus. The first was another ace, Juan Marichal, who was inducted in 1983. At the end of Martinez’s 32-minute induction speech, the two living legends held up their country’s flag to honor the Dominican Republic on the country’s Father’s Day.

During the early stages of his career Martinez was underestimated because of his small stature. He entered the league at a wiry 5’10”, 146-pound frame. Despite his lack of size, the eight-time All-Star was able to use a devastating array of pitches to dismantle opposing lineups. He led the league in Earned Run Average five of his 18 seasons in the Major Leagues.

During the speech, he struggled with how to put in words his incredible career and what it meant to him, saying “There are so many things that I would like to say that I don’t know that I will find the words in Spanish or in English, but my God I’m thankful.”

The three other ballplayers inductees were Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz, Houston Astros Craig Biggio, and five-time Cy Young-winner Randy Johnson who played for 5 teams including the Arizona Diamondbacks and Montreal Expos.

Johnson and Mart?nez were the only pitchers to win Cy Young Award in same season (1999 and 2000) and be inducted in same Hall of Fame class.