Pedro Martinez Elected to Hall of Fame

pedro martinez

On Tuesday, the voting results for the 2015 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame ballot were released and four players got in. Three of them were pitchers and first ballot Hall of Famers while the other was a third ballot and a utility player.
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Getting into the Hall of Fame this year included Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio. Martinez was a member of the Boston Red Sox for seven of his 18 big league seasons— longer than he spent with any other team in his career.

pedro martinezIn his prime, Pedro Martinez was one of the best pitchers in MLB history. Luckily for Boston Red Sox fans, all but one of his best seasons came as a member of the Red Sox.

From 1997 to 2003, Pedro Martinez was a robot. He was unreal. Winning 118 games while losing just 36 in that time span, Pedro made 201 appearances in that time frame, 199 of which were starts and struck out 1761 batters in 1408.0 innings while tossing 11 shutouts in the regular season. He won three Cy Young Awards in that span, all of which were well-deserved. Not to mention he kicked Don Zimmer’s ass in the 2003 ALCS.
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Although 2004 was not his best season (not by a long shot), he was a valuable contributor to the World Series Championship team. Going 16-9 on the year, he posted a 3.90 ERA in 33 starts and struck out 227 batters in 217 innings. In his lone World Series start, the then number-two starter tossed seven shutout innings in game three and struck out six guys while allowing just three hits and two walks in all.

In one of the best trades in Red Sox history, the team dealt away Carl Pavano and Tony Armas Jr. for the Hall of Famer in a deal they would do again 100 out of 100 times. That deal alone makes up for them trading Curt Schilling and Brady Anderson to the Baltimore Orioles and Jeff Bagwell to the Houston Astros.
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Congratulations to Pedro, he earned it.

Don Zimmer Passes Away at 83

Don Zimmer

For those of you who remember Yaz, Pudge, and Spaceman, you’ll all know who the Gerbil was. For those of you who are younger and grew up with Pedro, Manny, and Tek, you’ll remember Zip. As a matter of fact, you could be a Brooklyn Dodgers fan from exactly 60 years ago, and you would know who Don Zimmer was.

The baseball world lost a legend earlier yesterday when Zimmer passed away at a Florida hospital. He was 83.

Zimmer was a man who can say not only did he meet Babe Ruth, but he also never collected a paycheck outside of baseball. If you’re wondering how he did that in an era when ballplayers all had second jobs to support their families, the answer makes sense: he played winter ball. He’d spend his MLB off-season in places such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.

As a player, Zimmer suited up alongside greats such as Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, and Duke Snider in Brooklyn. Interestingly enough, he also played there with someone who would also one day manage the Red Sox, Dick Williams. He was a teammate of Sandy Koufax’ in Los Angeles, and played in the same infield as Ernie Banks in Chicago. He played on two World Series Championship teams for the Dodgers, one in Brooklyn in 1955 and one in Los Angeles in 1959. As a manager, he had teams that included Carl Yastrzemski and Carlton Fisk, or Fergie Jenkins and Andre Dawson. As a coach he had players under him such as Derek Jeter, Wade Boggs, and Roger Clemens.

Red Sox fans, though, know two versions of Zimmer. They recall the manager of the 1978 Red Sox team that blew a 14 game, late season lead and then lost to the New York Yankees in a one-game playoff when Bucky Fu…well, that’s past history now, exorcised with three titles in the last ten years. They also recall Bill Lee affectionately dub Zimmer with the nickname “The Gerbil” because of his bulging cheeks.

The new generation of Red Sox fans (who think the Duck boats roll every two to three years out of Fenway in the fall) recall Zimmer as the bench coach of the Yankees, particularly Game 3 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway in 2003. Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez had accidently thrown a pitch that accidently went near Yankee outfielder Karim Garcia’s head. Later in the game, Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens misremembered that you should aim for the strike zone, and let a fastball fly right at Manny Ramirez’ head. The dugouts emptied for the second time that day, and Zimmer, who was only 72 at the time, went right after Pedro, who was 40 years his junior! Pedro grabbed Zimmer by the head and flung him down to the ground. The next day, an emotional Zimmer publicly apologized for his actions.

Zimmer leaves behind his two children, and his wife of 63 years. Not so surprisingly, he married her at home plate on a baseball diamond in Elmira, N.Y. Zimmer’s was a baseball life well lived.