For more great baseball stories like this one, 'like' us on Facebook -

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Pedro Martinez showed 'unlimited potential' in rookie ball; He then made the Hall of Fame

Great Falls Dodgers pitching coach Guy Conti seemed to know what he and his organization had on their hands in young right-hander Pedro Martinez in 1990, according to The Great Falls Tribune.

After a rain-shortened outing where Martinez went six, struck out nine, walked two and gave up three earned, Conti offered high praise for Martinez to The Tribune.

"His potential is unlimited," Conti told The Tribune of Martinez then.

The Dodgers organization itself, however, ultimately did not fully realize the pitcher they actually had in Martinez - they traded him away as a reliever just three years later. Martinez soon would realize his potential elsewhere.  

With the Expos, Red Sox and then Mets, Martinez made All-Star teams, won ERA titles, Cy Youngs and a World Series. Then, in 2015, he made the Hall of Fame.

Martinez' road to Cooperstown began in 1988, signed by the Dodgers as a free agent out of his native Dominican Republic. He signed with the club the year his brother Ramon Martinez first made the majors as a Dodger.

Pedro Martinez first saw the minors in 1990, at rookie Great Falls. He saw 14 starts, went 8-3,  with a 3.62 ERA and struck out 82 over 77 innings of work.

He then quickly moved up. He saw high-A Bakersfield, AA San Antonio and AAA Albuquerque, all in 1991 and returned to Albuquerque for 1992. Then, in September 1992, he debuted in Los Angeles.

Martinez saw two outings with the Dodgers that September, one start and one in relief. He gave up two earned in eight innings. 

He returned to Los Angeles for 1993, playing alongside his brother. He also played the year as a reliever. He saw 63 outings and started two. He still won 10 games to five losses and turned in a 2.61 ERA. Martinez even saved two games.

But that November, the Dodgers traded Martinez to the Expos for second baseman Delino DeShields. Dodgers executive vice president Fred Claire explained the deal then to The Los Angeles Daily News.

"It is difficult to give up a pitcher of Pedro Martinez' caliber," Claire told The Daily News. "But when you're acquiring a 24-year-old second baseman who is one of the real talents of the game today, it helps."

The Los Angeles Times later called the trade Claire's "albatross." 

Martinez arrived in Montreal and turned starter and he would start for the rest of his career. He won 11 games and struck out 142 for the best-record 1994 Expos. He won another 14 and struck out 174 in 1995.

Martinez earned his first of eight All-Star nods in 1996 as he struck out 222. Then, in 1997, he won his first Cy Young - the first Dominican to do so - as he went 17-8, with a 1.90 ERA as he threw 13 complete games and struck out 305.

The Expos then traded Martinez to the Red Sox in a cost-cutting move. After Martinez won the Cy Young, and as the Expos shopped him, his manager with Montreal, Felipe Alou, recognized to The Monteral Gazette who the then-26-year-old Martinez was.

"I want to see him pitch when he's 28, 29, 30," Alou told The Gazette. "He added a pitch this year, a 'cutter,' since the All-Star Game. He's learning. He's getting better. And he's dominant now."

Martinez then went 19-7, with a 2.89 ERA, for the Red Sox in 1998. He then showed his complete dominance in 1999 as he went 23-4, with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts. He won his second Cy Young that year and third in 2000.

He stayed with the Red Sox through 2004, when he went 16-9, with a 3.90 ERA as he helped  the club to its first World Series title in 86 years.

Martinez signed with the Mets for 2005 and saw his seventh and eighth All-Star appearances there. He last played with the Phillies in 2009.

Martinez finished his career with a 219-100 record over 18 seasons. He ended with a 2.93 ERA and 3,154 strikeouts. His strikeout total is the 13th best all-time.

He won election to the Hall in 2015 on his first ballot, with 91.1 percent of the vote. In his Hall of Fame speech, Martinez told of how he wanted to be remembered. 

"If you ask how I want to be remembered, don't remember me by the numbers I posted," Martinez said in his Hall of Fame speech, as quoted by USA Today. "Don't remember me as being part of an elite class. I want to be remembered as a sign of hope for society, so people understand that they have a way out. All they have to do is go work and dedicate themselves and actually try to find the exit that's out there."
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,379
Made the Majors:1,199-35.5%-X
Never Made Majors:2,180-64.5%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 498-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:290

1 comment:

  1. "Who's your daddy?" We Yankee fans will make fun but he was a fantastic pitcher.