BOSTON (AP) — Pedro Martinez’s Hall of Fame career took off in the late 1990s in a ballpark usually know for offensive numbers.
From Ted Williams to Carl Yastrzemski to Jim Rice, the Boston Red Sox have retired numbers — placing them along the facade of the right-field roof deck in hitter-friendly Fenway Park.
The seven retired Red Sox numbers are all of everyday players.
That all changes Tuesday night when the club will place the first number of a pitcher along with the other Red Sox greats — retiring Martinez’s number 45.
Martinez’s number will be retired in a pregame ceremony before Boston faces the Chicago White Sox.
Martinez was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame on Sunday along with Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, and Craig Biggio.
Now, he’ll be honored in place where his flamboyant style and dominating pitching earned him a place in Copperstown.
“As excited as I am about the Hall of Fame, I’m equally excited about having my number retired,” Martinez said when he learned of the decision. “I think it’s a great honor. I don’t have enough words to thank the Red Sox.”
Martinez won five ERA titles in an offensive-rich era, dominating hitters putting up crazy numbers.
One of his biggest moments was in the 1999 All Star Game — in Fenway, no less — when he started and struck out five of the six NL hitters he faced. Each of them were putting up gaudy offensive numbers.
“The fact that he was so elite in an offensive era, he was as dominate as anyone at any stage of the game’s history,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said over the weekend.
But it wasn’t just his pitching that his teammates remember. Slugger David Ortiz, a teammate with Martinez on the 2004 team that ended an 86-year World Series drought, felt like he learned so much just being with the right-hander.
“Pedro is the most unbelievable human being that I’ve ever been around,” Ortiz said after a career-best, seven-RBI night Sunday. “Everything he told me made me a better player, a better person.”
Now, the Red Sox and their fans will get to honor him where the 43-year-old right-hander shot onto the scene.