26 Jul 2015
Pedro Martinez is set to be enshrined today in Baseball’s Hall of Fame. As you know, I’m not a man of words…good words anyway. That said, watching Pedro pitch was must see viewing. There have been better pitchers than Pedro in terms of higher cumulative stats but I would argue, there hasn’t been a better pitcher over a 7 year period than Pedro was from 1997 – 2003. Sandy Koufax comes to mind but his prime was over 5 years. Both Koufax and Pedro were similar in that they had relatively short careers for Hall of Famers and whose prime years were other worldly.
Consider this, from 1997-2003, Pedro’s stat line was:
W-L 118-36, 1408 IP, 1009 H, 315 BB, 1761 K’s, 2.20 ERA, .940 WHIP, 213 ERA+.
All of this pitching during the steroid era. Pedro has been quite vocal on his anti-steroid stance and I fully acknowledge that this alone doesn’t mean he didn’t do steroids himself. But even if he did do steroids (which I don’t think he did, call me biased or naive, fine) he still did things no other pitcher did during or outside of the steroid era.
I isolated Sandy Koufax’s prime years of 1962-1966 and came up with this:
W-L 111-34, 1377 IP, 959 H, 316 BB, 1444 K’s, 1.95 ERA, .926 WHIP, 167 ERA+.
Koufax’s prime came over 5 years and of course he pitched in a time where 300 IP a season was normal.
I’ve looked and admit, probably not thoroughly enough, I haven’t found another modern day pitcher who’s prime was as dominating in all aspects as Pedro and Koufax’s. ERA, control, strikeouts, ERA+. Every element of their games was perfect. I give the nod to Pedro because he pitched in a hitters era and did so over a longer period of time.
As a Red Sox fan, I realized early on that I was watching a player whose performance would probably never be duplicated again by a Red Sox player. I didn’t have to force myself to watch Pedro’s starts, I had to watch them, I demanded to watch them. Start after start of mowing the opposition down, Pedro allowing 3 ER was a bit of a shock, if just didn’t happen that much.
His best game were both against the Yankees. His 17 strikeout, 1-hit win and his head to head match-up game against Rogers Clemens which was won by a late Trot Nixon home run. Epic baseball.
Congratulations to Pedro Martinez and thank you for making watching baseball such a joy.