January 6, 2015

Pedro Martinez Elected To Hall Of Fame

Pedro Martinez - who put together two back-to-back seasons more impressive than any other pitcher in major league history (1999-2000) - was elected this afternoon to baseball's Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Martinez - an 18-year veteran who pitched for seven years in Boston, including the magical 2004 season - received 91.1% of the votes (500 of 549) cast.

Martinez posted ERA+s of 243 and 291, respectively, in those seasons with the Red Sox. Those marks rank #9 and #1 all-time. ... ESPN posted pictures from "10 of Pedro's most memorable moments in a Red Sox uniform" and eight of them were from 1999 or 2000. ... Over The Monster picked Pedro's 5 greatest Red Sox games.

Inducted along with Martinez were Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, and Craig Biggio.

Jayson Stark, while writing about his HoF ballot, shared this about Martinez:
The most seasons with an adjusted ERA-plus of 200 or better of any starting pitcher in history - with five, one more than Walter Johnson. ... The fifth-greatest WHIP of all time (1.05). ... The sixth-best winning percentage ever (219-100, .687). ... A seven-year peak, as computed by the great Hall of Fame historian Jay Jaffe, that tops Maddux, Bob Feller or Koufax and ranks sixth in the entire live-ball era, behind only Clemens, Grove, Johnson, Bob Gibson and Tom Seaver. ... And, finally, there's this amazing stat, delivered by Lee Sinins' Complete Baseball Encyclopedia: Pedro's career ERA, over his 18 seasons from 1992 to 2009, was an unbelievable 2.93, at a time when the ERA of the average starter in the same period was 4.49. So that computes to an ERA that was more than a run and a half lower than the league average. And how many other pitchers in history, who pitched as many innings as he pitched, have ever had a larger differential? Yessir. Nobody.
Here is something I wrote back in June 2006, when Pedro was about to make his return to Fenway Park, as a member of the Mets:
Where would the Red Sox have been if Pedro Martinez had stayed in Montreal? How much different would those seven years - 1998-2004 - have been? If Pedro is not in Boston, does Manny agree to leave Cleveland? Does Keith Foulke sign? Does Curt Schilling agree to a trade/contract extension? Does David Ortiz agree to stay?

The fans loved him immediately. His first start at Fenway - his third start in 1998 - was a two-hit, complete game shutout. Right away, there were chants and fans waving signs and Dominican flags. Pedro soaked up all the adulation and gave it right back. He was never shy about his love and respect for the city and its fans. He loved pitching in Boston as much as we loved having him in our uniform. And when he wasn't cold-blooded on the mound, demanding your constant attention, he was dancing on the bench, being taped to a dugout pole, simply enjoying himself.

We were spoiled. Martinez pitched so well, for so long, that when he became merely the best pitcher in baseball, we were disappointed. He had set the bar too high.

In the 1999 regular season, he allowed more than 3 earned runs only twice in 30 starts. He allowed 0, 1 or 2 runs in 24 of 30 starts!

After 12 starts in 2000 - on June 19 - his ERA was 0.99. 0.99! Some of the season-ending numbers for Pedro in 2000 (and the second place finisher):

Batting Average Allowed: .167 (Hudson, .227)
On-Base Percentage Allowed: .213 (Mussina, .291)
Slugging Percentage Allowed: .259 (Colon, .371)
Home ERA: 1.84 (Mussina, 2.90)
Road ERA: 1.66 (Wells, 3.24)
Hits Per 9 Innings: 5.31 (Hudson 7.52, only 3 AL pitchers below 8.00)
Baserunners per 9 Innings: 7.2* (Mussina 10.8)
Strikeouts/Walk Ratio: 8.88 (Wells, 5.35)

*: New major league record, breaking the old mark set by Guy Hecker in 1882.

And finally, perhaps Martinez's most overpowering start: September 10, 1999 - 17 strikeouts in a one-hitter at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees did not hit a fair ball on any of his final 52 pitches. During the final two innings, with their team losing 2-1, even Yankee fans were on their feet cheering.
There was no other player I enjoyed watching on a baseball diamond more than Pedro Martinez.

The power, the finesse, the intelligence, the domination, the fun. And since his playing career ended in 2009, he has remained a source of joy, his stories and insights always witty and knowledgeable.

Next spring, Pedro, a biography written with the Herald's Michael Silverman, will be published.


hrstrat57 said...

Congrats to the best pitcher I have ever seen.....wicked!!

pitch speed, movement, spin, deception and stone cold fearless...just sick.

Thanks Pedro!

FenFan said...

I've been a season ticket holder at Fenway Park since 1998. My first game coincided with the first one Martinez pitched at Fenway. I was with my brother, sitting on the third base side, and we could not believe how quickly the ball was reaching the plate. I can still hear the ball hitting the catcher's mitt with an authoritative thump. It all looked so effortless.

Congrats, Pedro, no one is more deserving to be honored and I have to wonder why 9% of the voters did not include you on their ballots.

Zenslinger said...

Allan, your 2006 post pretty much single handedly opened my eyes to Sabremetrics. I've been preaching the gospel of Pedro (and Greg Maddux) ever since.

allan said...

Wow. How about that.
Yeah, Maddux's 1994-95 seasons were also insanely-great.