The fact that, arguably, the greatest pitcher in Red Sox history was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in the same year in which the current team is scrambling to find an ace is an irony likely not lost on Boston fans.
Pedro Martinez was the ultimate ace, and on Sunday, No. 45 claimed his rightful home in Cooperstown, New York.
“Hola! Hola!,” Martinez shouted to a rowdy crowd, ready to cheer on every word. “It’s a great honor to be here. It’s a great moment not only for me, for my family, it’s a great moment for the Dominican Republic and Latin America.”
Much of Martinez’ speech centered around his home country and his want for more Dominican players to one day land in the Hall of Fame.
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“We waited 32 years for another Dominican,” Martinez said regarding former Giants great Juan Marichal, who joined Martinez on stage at one point. “I hope all Dominicans remember this.”
Martinez also spent much of the day reminiscing about his time playing in front of Red Sox fans.
“Boston, I don’t have enough words to say how much I love you,” he said. “[Former Red Sox general manager] Dan Duquette, he was crazy [enough] to trade twice for the same little player and both times he [ended up] looking great. He wanted me a third time, but I was too old.”
It was a jovial day for the always jovial Martinez. The man who struck out 3,154 batters in an 18-year career danced on stage, brought up the Dominican flag and also gave “bunny ears” to fellow Hall of Fame Class of 2015 inductee Randy Johnson.
“Randy Johnson, the Big Unit, my brother from another mother!,” Martinez said to laughs during his near-40 minute speech.
The celebration will continue in Boston this week as Martinez will have his number retired by the Red Sox in a ceremony at Fenway prior to Tuesday’s game against the Chicago White Sox.