The Red Sox announced Monday plans to retire Pedro Martinez's number 45 as a tribute to his exceptional career in a Red Sox uniform and in honor of his upcoming induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place at Fenway Park before the Red Sox-White Sox game on Tuesday, July 28, just two days after the right-handed pitcher is enshrined in Cooperstown, NY.
The number 45 will be the ninth on the right field facade of Fenway Park, joining Bobby Doerr's #1; Joe Cronin's #4; Johnny Pesky's #6; Carl Yastrzemski's #8; Ted Williams' #9; Jim Rice's #14; Carlton Fisk's #27; and Jackie Robinson's #42, which is retired throughout Major League Baseball.
"To be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame upon his first year of eligibility speaks volumes regarding Pedro's outstanding career, and is a testament to the respect and admiration so many in baseball have for him," said Red Sox Principal Owner John W. Henry.
"And baseball fans admire Pedro for more than his remarkable career accomplishments. His dynamic personality, love for the game, his fearlessness coupled with humility, his passionate, competitive spirit, and his ability to squeeze every ounce of talent out of a small frame were reasons so many fans connected with him. For me personally, he was one of the most incredible pitchers I've had the privilege of watching, and one of the reasons our ownership group arrived here in 2002. We very much look forward to honoring Pedro's remarkable career this July."
Martinez's jersey number will be retired exactly seven years after Jim Rice's number 14 was retired on July 28, 2008.
A three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star, the electric Martinez spent seven seasons with the Red Sox beginning in 1998 and was a key part of the 2004 team that brought a World Series title to Boston for the first time since 1918.
During his 18-year major league career, the right-hander went 219-100 with a 2.93 ERA and 3,154 strikeouts in 2,827.1 innings. His career .687 winning percentage ranks second among modern major leaguers (since 1900) behind only Whitey Ford's .690 mark (more than 250 decisions).
Among pitchers with at least 2,500 career innings in the majors, only Nolan Ryan (.204) has a lower opponent batting average than Martinez (.214). Since the live ball era began in 1920, no pitcher has a lower opponent on-base percentage than his .276 mark.
With the Red Sox, Martinez went 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA. He has the best winning percentage in franchise history (.760) and also tops club records (min. 1,000 innings) with an average of 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings and a .206 opponent batting average. Among Red Sox all-time leaders, he ranks third in strikeouts (1,683), sixth in wins (117), and seventh in ERA.
In his tenure with Boston, Martinez was the major league leader in winning percentage, ERA, opponent batting average, opponent on-base percentage (.261), opponent slugging percentage (.317), opponent OPS (.578), and WHIP (0.98). He also led all American Leaguers in strikeouts per nine innings, the only AL pitcher to average at least a strikeout per inning during that stretch.
He was the starter, winner, and Most Valuable Player of the memorable 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park on July 13. He struck out the first four batters he faced: Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa. After Matt Williams reached on an error, he struck out Jeff Bagwell. Williams was then caught stealing to end the inning and the seal the performance.
In his career, Martinez led the major leagues in ERA on five occasions, including 1997 with the Expos (1.90) and four times during his first five years as a member of the Red Sox: 1999 (2.07), 2000 (1.74), 2002 (2.26), and 2003 (2.22). He won the AL's strikeout title in 1999 (313), 2000 (284), and 2002 (239).
Martinez, now 43 years old, finished within the top four in AL Cy Young balloting in six of his seven seasons with the Red Sox (the exception coming in 2001, when injuries limited him to 18 starts).
He was the unanimous winner of the American League's Cy Young Award in back-to-back seasons - 1999 and 2000. Winning the AL pitching Triple Crown in 1999, he fanned a Red Sox-record 313 batters in 213.1 innings, and set an MLB record that still stands by striking out 37.5 percent of the batters he faced. That year, he also set a big league record striking out at least 10 batters in eight consecutive games.
His 1.74 ERA in 2000 is the best single-season mark by an American League pitcher over the last 46 seasons (starting in 1969). In 2000, he established modern major league records for lowest opponent average (.167), lowest opponent on-base percentage (.213), and WHIP (0.74).
Signed originally in 1988 by the Los Angeles Dodgers, for whom he played in 1992 and 1993, Martinez also played for the Montreal Expos (1994-97), the Red Sox (1998-2004), the New York Mets (2005-08), and the Philadelphia Phillies (2009).
He is tied for the Red Sox record with 11 starts over four seasons of postseason play with Boston, and compiled a 3.40 ERA in his 13 total postseason outings with the club. He is also the franchise's all-time leader in wins (tied, 6), strikeouts (80), and innings pitched (79.1) in the postseason.
The last game of his Red Sox playing career was his World Series victory in Game 3 in St. Louis in 2004. The last game of his Major League Baseball career was also in the World Series, for the Phillies versus the New York Yankees in 2009.
Since his retirement, Martinez has spent his time working with his charitable foundation, The Pedro Martinez and Brothers Foundation, which he created in 1998. The organization focuses on providing educational opportunities both in the classroom and through baseball in the Dominican Republic and United States.
Martinez returned to the Red Sox organization in January 2013 and has spent the last two and a half years as Special Assistant to the General Manager.
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