Pedro Martinez won induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. In Cooperstown, the former Boston Red Sox ace revealed why he skipped a start in 2002 that likely cost him another Cy Young Award.
Pedro led the league with a 2.26 ERA, 239 strikeouts, and a gaudy .833 winning percentage that season. But the 20-4 pitcher lost out on the Cy Young Award to Barry Zito of the Oakland A’s, who posted an excellent 23-5 record but gave up a half-run more a game and struck out 57 fewer batters. Giving up a start to a September call-up killed in a car accident five years later likely resulted in Martinez losing out on his fourth Cy Young Award.
David Ortiz admitted crying as he watched Martinez’s Hall of Fame speech from the Fenway Park clubhouse (then he went 4-for-5, hitting two homers, knocking in seven runs and scoring three).
Here, via the Boston Herald, is the transcript of his induction speech where Martinez explains why he did what he did:
Thank you so much.
There we go. Hola! Hola! Well, now let’s go to the serious stuff. A lot of people been sitting down for a long time. It’s now time to get serious. (Speaking in Spanish.)
I’m going to start in English, but I’m pretty sure I’ll finish in Spanish.
Let me just start by saying may God bless each and every one of you here today. Before anything, I would like to apologize because I’m speaking here in a second language. Remember, I’m Dominican. Even though I get away with English pretty well, I remain Dominican, and I have a hard time sometimes expressing myself this way. So bear with me, everybody. Please bear with me.
I’m going to have to translate, as well. So bear with me. Be patient. If forget someone to mention, please don’t feel bad. It’s been 32 years before we get this opportunity to get here. If I get emotional or I don’t say something or don’t mention someone or don’t say it appropriately, please forgive me.
Well, first of all, welcome, everybody. I would like to take a moment to actually say hello to all my peers, the Hall of Fame, Jane, Jeff, Brad, the whole staff. Thank you for having us. It’s a great honor to be here. It’s a great moment, not only for me, but for my family. It’s a great moment for the Dominican Republic and Latin America.
I would like to also welcome my amigo, the new commissioner, Rob Manfred. We have a lot of work to do in the Dominican Republic to keep bringing people to the Hall of Fame.
I would like to thank MLB baseball also. I would like to actually thank my colleagues over there. I got you! Hello, Greg, John, everybody. I have you here. You’re hanging in my heart.
Well, Tony Clark is not here, but he represents the Players’ Association, the one that we were part of for a long time, for me 18 years.
I would like to thank the members of the media that actually voted us in. I couldn’t thank you enough. In ‘99, I had a little stretch where I felt you guys didn’t like it, didn’t like me so well. But, hey, you made it up. You really show that you really care when it matters.
I think I just made three new brothers, three guys that while competing against them and looking at them and learning from them, gave me great joy, a lot to learn, a lot to take with me up to this moment.
Craig, what a headache you were on the bases and hitting, as well. Too bad I couldn’t realize that I couldn’t throw fastballs up and away on time, especially late in the count.
John, what a competitor. If you put me and Randy together, I always say this, as far as staff is compared, I think Randy and I make the same stuff that you carried yourself. That’s how talented you were, John. I appreciate you, bro.
Randy Johnson, the big unit. My brother from another mother! How much I enjoyed getting to know you and having you coming over to this class with me. Thank you, bro, you are special. I just want to ask you a question: How does the weather feel when you stand up?
My class of 2015 is a unique class, today is a unique day. Today I don’t have enough words to actually thank you all enough. My peers back here, the veterans, in the next dinner we have, I know I’m going to be with the Punching Judys. I heard that already.
I would also like to welcome all the government officials from the United States, from the Dominican Republic. We have a huge package of people representing the country, the people. Thank you so much. Also the officials here, I know the Secretary of the Navy is here. He became a friend, also a fan from Boston. So welcome aboard.
Well, all of you, thank you for being here. Dominican pride is here.
As you know, we all have people to thank.
We all have different reasons that made us special and made us be here. I don’t think I could have been here without having all the things that I had happen in my life in general, and also as a player.
I would like to thank my people from Dominican and my family members and all the friends from all over the country that came over. I would like to thank America for the opportunity that baseball had to offer for me.
Words have the power to build you or break you. I chose two words to describe pretty much how I feel today in this special day with all of you. There’s so many things I would like to say that I don’t know if I will find the words in Spanish or English. But, my God, I’m thankful. I’m thankful for everything.
The two words I chose today were ‘God’ and ‘thank you’. I chose God because He’s the reason we’re all here. He is the one that allows us to be here. He’s the one that pretty much builds the way for you to make it here, to actually become who you are.
I have here the reason why Pedro was so determined out there. I have here the glory of God with me, and I can only look to my left a little bit, and I have all the motivation I needed to be the way I was in baseball: my family. My kids.
Boys, you don’t know what you’re taking on when you take baseball. It’s very hard. But it’s rejoicing to be here.
Kids, I love you guys. You are actually my legacy, my generation next. It’s a huge commitment, as you can see, not only with baseball, not only with your peers, not only with the fans. You have a huge commitment with the legacy that I have built for you guys. So thank you, God, for them, and I love you all.
My mom, the nucleus of my family. My dad is not here today. But I have a second dad.
Ramon, you’re right there. You were my second dad.
My brother Ramon, another veteran in the big leagues. I followed his footsteps and led me to where I didn’t expect to be today. Thank you, bro, for being my support, for cleaning the way where I was going to walk. So thank you, bro, I love you. I respect you, as well.
The rest of my family, my brother Jesus.
Let me say something to everybody now that I can. In 2002, I wasn’t given a Cy Young supposedly because I missed the start. Well, that Cy Young I didn’t win because I chose to give an opportunity to a kid named Josh Hancock. And why do I bring it up? Because out of four brothers that we are, Ramon, Nelson, me and eventually Jesus, three of us made it to the big leagues. But Jesus is not in the record books because the organization he was playing for did not find the chance to give him one pitch in the big leagues so that he could be in the records.
That was the main reason why I decided not to take that outing, but to give it to Josh Hancock. I felt bad that my brother Jesus did not experience what it was like to pitch in that game that day.
So, Jesus, don’t feel bad. We pitch enough for you. We’re here. So love you. Baseball is yours, too. What we get is ours.
I would like to thank God also for my beautiful wife, my other mother, Luz Maria, my other partner in crime Ana Lelia, my cousins, nephews. Lilly, I don’t have enough words to say how much I appreciate you. My in-laws. All the people that have somehow influenced my life. But Carolina, I must say, the way you’re dealing with me, I know I’m not an easy out when it comes to keeping me quiet, especially after I retired, where I didn’t know what I was going to do with so much time. Carolina, I love you. I appreciate what you have done for my family, the things you have done to actually get all my family here. Close to a hundred people we have here, ladies and gentlemen. Carolina, Kerry, Pam, Nancy Lane, they were responsible for us being here and making this moment so special. I love you all. Nana.
People in baseball that I feel so fortunate to have had by my side. When I look over there, it’s funny, but so many names that I want to mention. We waited 32 years to see one more Dominican. You have to imagine that there was a lot of people involved in this.
So I’m just going to draft a couple of names that I would like to mention after thanking God for the beautiful family that’s witnessing what we have today.
Right away I have to think Rafael Avila, the man with the biggest history as far as ball players coming out of the Dominican Republic. If you didn’t know, Rafael Avila over here, my first mentor, that signed more than 50 players that have made it to the big leagues. Rafael Avila, an icon of Latin America and a symbol of baseball in the Dominican Republic.
My first coach who was always there to teach me the baby steps I needed to take to become better every day.
I have a gentleman here that I think is crazy. I have a gentleman here whose name is Dan Duquette. He was crazy to trade twice for the same little player, and both times he ended up looking great. And he wanted me for a third time, but I was too old.
So, Dan, thank you so much for having so much faith in me, trusting that I was going to make you look good. I thought you were good-looking without me, but I guess I shape you more.
I have here a name, two names, that I can’t go without mentioning. Felipe Alou and Tommy Harper. Felipe gave me the opportunity. I was trying to take advantage of it. There was a time where I felt like I wasn’t performing up to the level.
You gave me one of the best advice I could ever take with me. Thank you for telling me that the organ kept on playing because at that moment I felt like I was failing, and you just told me, That’s only a little slump. How do you get into the slump? You got into the slump pitching. Well, that’s the same way you have to come out of it.
I kept my faith and I kept my head up and I kept working. Today I can say I thank you for that. The organ, yes, kept on playing.
I would like to take the moment to thank all the franchises that I played for, L.A. Dodgers, Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, and the Philadelphia Phillies.
At the same time I want to say to the fan bases that we appreciate you all. Montreal, I hope you get a team pretty soon. Boston, I don’t have enough words to say how much I love you.
Even though L.A. Dodgers never got me the chance to prove what I could do, I was given an opportunity there to showcase a little bit so that someone else could pick me up. Thank you.
Philadelphia, where I finished my career, little did I know that I was going to finish my career. But the fan base was great. The experience in Philadelphia was great.
So to all of you, thank you. The Mets fans. Well, if you look at me and you see me going wild, that’s the Mets fans. That’s how we are. So Queens, I love you, too.
A lot of people that influence your life in other ways, I have names that I have to mention, as well. One of them is my dear friend from the Dominican Republic, all-time friend. Able to put up a lot of stuff with me. Evita (phonetic), my agent Fernando Cuza is out there, as well. I have to thank Guy Conti, the guy that taught me the circle change-up, the change-up that gave those batters a lot of trouble. His wife Janet, as well.
I have to thank the family who introduced me to the United States, all the way in Great Falls, Montana. Thank you so much.
I have to thank some people in Montreal. Sam, Mark Routtenberg. The fan base in Montreal, thank you, thank you for supporting me, thank you for being there for me. It’s too bad you don’t have a team.
All the coaches and trainers that I was able to spend time with. Chris Correnti is one name that I could never forget. This is the guy that went through war with me. Wherever you are, Chris, I love you. I appreciate it. May God bless you.
I would like to thank God for all the teammates I had. Jason Varitek, Kevin Millar, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz. So many names that I could mention today. I would like to thank all of you. The ones that I played with, the ones that I competed against, you guys helped me on the field, helped me defeat those other teams, and at the same time you guys built my courage, strength and desire to go out there and beat you. The competition, I want to acknowledge you, and I want to tell you that I respected you, even though sometimes by the pitches you wouldn’t tell that.
I would like to thank God for the opportunity of being here. I would like all of you to not look at me as numbers, as baseball, as achievements. 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.
Today I don’t want to roll into numbers and games that I pitched. I just want to make sure that my people get a little message across from me and see me as a sign of hope for a future generation.
I’m going to have to switch a little bit to Spanish because I would like these people to really feel what I feel today and what I mean to
say (Speaking in Spanish).
I will go back to English so I can sum up some of the stuff I said.
I feel proud to be from Dominican Republic. I give this to all the fathers in the Dominican because today is Father’s Day in Dominican. The day I got called to be in the Hall of Fame is January 6th, which is Kid’s Day. To all the fathers in the Dominican Republic, feel like this is your gift today.
I thank you all for your patience. I would like to do something will probably break the protocol, but I would like to give my people an opportunity that we don’t get very often, and we had to wait for 32 years for us to do. So I would like to invite Mr. Juan Marichal to come forward and give the Dominican Republic a gift they waited 32 years to get.
Thank you so much. Thank you for having us