Pedro Jaime Martínez (born October 25, 1971 in Manoguayabo, Dominican Republic) is an outspoken baseball pitcher. He has won three Cy Young Awards and has been considered one of the top pitchers in baseball in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Martínez's career started with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1992 as a relief pitcher. Before the 1994 season, he was traded to the Montreal Expos for Delino DeShields, and became one of the top starters in baseball. In 1997 he posted a 17-8 record for the otherwise mediocre Expos, with a 1.90 ERA, 305 strikeouts and 13 complete games pitched, and won the National League Cy Young Award.
Martínez was traded to the Boston Red Sox in November 1997 for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas, Jr., and was soon signed to a six-year, $75,000,000 contract by the Sox, at the time the largest ever awarded to a pitcher. In 1999 he enjoyed one of the greatest pitching seasons of all time, finishing 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts, he won his second Cy Young Award (this time in the American League), and was second in the Most Valuable Player ballot. The MVP vote was controversial as Martínez received the most first-place votes, but was totally omitted from the ballot of two sportswriters who believed pitchers were not sufficiently all-around players to be considered.
In the 1999 playoffs, though hampered by an injury, Martínez won game five after appearing in relief and pitching six shutout innings against the Cleveland Indians. In the American League Championship Series, he pitched seven shutout innings to beat the New York Yankees in Game 3, handing them their only loss of the postseason.
Martínez's strikeouts and win count were slightly down in 2000, but he posted an exceptional 1.74 ERA, the AL's lowest since 1968, winning his third Cy Young award. This is believed by some to be the greatest year ever by a pitcher, as his ERA was an incredible 285% lower than the park-adjusted league ERA (4.97). No other single season by a starting pitcher has had such a gigantic differential.
Martínez was injured for much of 2001 with a rotator cuff injury as the Red Sox slumped to a poor finish. He rebounded in 2002 to lead the league with a 2.26 ERA and 237 strikeouts, going 20-4. However, that season's American League Cy Young award went to Barry Zito of the Oakland A's who had three more wins, despite a higher ERA, fewer strikeouts, and a lower winning percentage. Martínez became the first pitcher in history to lead his respective league in these categories and not win the Cy Young award.
Martínez has come about as close to throwing a perfect game as possible without actually getting credit for it. On June 3, 1995, while pitching for Montreal, he retired the first 27 Padres hitters he faced to sail through nine innings of perfect pitching. However, the score was still tied 0-0 at that point and the game went into extra innings, and Martínez surrendered a double to the 28th batter. According to Major League Baseball rules, that meant that Martínez accomplished neither a perfect game nor a no-hitter.
Martínez is unusual for a power pitcher as he is 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) and 170 pounds (77 kg), small by modern-day standards. His pitches include a 95 mph (153 km/h) tailing fastball, an outstanding changeup that moves away from left handed hitters, and a hard curveball. His fastball and curveball are considered to be among the premier pitches of their type, and his changeup is believed to be among the very best of all-time. Martínez also throws from a low three-quarter position that hides the ball very well from batters, who have remarked on the difficulty of picking up Martínez's delivery. Throughout his career, his arm angle has dropped lower, and as of July 2004, Martínez effectively throws sidearm.
Martínez is also a very controversial pitcher, both on and off the field. He refuses to yield the inside part of the plate, and has a high numbers of batters hit as a result. Some people believe he is a headhunter, similar to Bob Gibson. On the Red Sox - Yankees rivalry, he was quoted as saying: "I'm starting to hate talking about the Yankees. The questions are so stupid. They're wasting my time. It's getting kind of old ... I don't believe in damn curses. Wake up the damn Bambino and have me face him. Maybe I'll drill him in the ass, pardon me the word." In Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS, Yankee bench coach Don Zimmer charged Martínez during a bench-clearing incident, and Martínez pushed him to the ground.
After the 2004 season, Martínez became a free agent and signed a 4 year, $52 million contract with the New York Mets.
- Martínez's brother Ramón Martínez was also a Major League pitcher and the brothers have twice been teammates, with the Dodgers (1992-93) and Red Sox (1999-2000).
- Career statistics at Baseball Reference (http://www.baseball-reference.com/m/martipe02.shtml)
- Profile and daily update at ESPN (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=4875)