Pedro Martinez, one of the greatest pitchers in Red Sox and Major League history, will have his number 45 retired by the Sox this season. The ceremony will take place on July 28 during a game against the Chicago White Sox. It is an honor that is seldom given by the Sox, but one that is greatly deserved by one of the all-time greats.
Martinez spent seven seasons with the Sox from 1998-2004, and rarely did he disappoint. He was always a fan favorite, including being my favorite Sox player ever, because of his great attitude toward the game, and the city of Boston. He will always be remembered for his final season with the Sox, when the team won their first World Series title in 86 years, and while doing so came back from down three games to none against the hated New York Yankees. That comeback will probably be seen as the best comeback in sports history forever.
But it wasn’t just that season that gave Martinez his reputation as being one of the best. I believe that even if the Sox hadn’t made that great comeback (thank God they did though), Martinez would still be receiving this honor. He recorded an overall record of 117-37 with an ERA of 2.52 during his time with Boston. But even with how great of a pitcher he was in the regular season, it seemed that he would always step up his game in the playoffs.
Though Martinez is best-known for his time with the Sox, he played for four other teams (L.A. Dodgers, Montreal Expos, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies) during his 18 year career. He had an overall record of 219-100 with an ERA of 2.93. These numbers were good enough to put Martinez into the Baseball Hall Of Fame this year, which was his first time being on the ballot, an honor that is only given to the greatest.
Martinez will be the ninth number that the Sox have retired. He will be joining other Sox greats Bobby Doer, Joe Cronin, Johnny Pesky, Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, Jim Rice and Carlton Fisk, as well as Jackie Robinson’s number 42 which is retired throughout the entire MLB. With all the great players that have come through the Sox over the years, it is clearly a high honor to be only the eighth Sox player with his number never to be seen again on another player. It really should be a memorable ceremony for the great man and pitcher, Pedro Martinez.