BOSTON For Pedro Martinez it was mission accomplished. Winning a World Series was the reason he was brought to Boston. Anything short of that would have been a failure. It took until his final season with the Red Sox, but he finally accomplished his mission.
And, if he had not won that 2004 World Series?
I would have probably retired right after then, he said. I dont know. I would have been so disappointed that I came here with a purpose and that was the purpose. And Ill probably say I was the only player out of all that players that felt like I had something to achieve for this team because I was called in to build the team around me as the ace of the team. And it took me to the last year to actually finally get it. But I could finally say, Mission Accomplished.
Martinez was one of several players from the 2004 team honored in a ceremony before Tuesdays game against the Rays at Fenway Park. What made that team special, said Kevin Millar, was the chemistry.
You got to pull for each because youre not fooling us, Millar said. We can fool you guys. We can say the right thing and we know there are a few teams out there that say the right thing in front of the camera. But you cant fool your teammates . . . We pulled for each other and that was what was cool.
When Johnnys running into a wall or whatever, you want to work harder to make sure that effort doesnt go for naught, said Keith Foulke.
Foulke was on the mound for the final out of the World Series, retiring Edgar Renteria on a comebacker in St. Louis as the Sox swept the Cardinals. Even though he was the closer, he did not allow himself to envision that moment ahead of time.
No not even close, he said. I never once thought about what could happen. You start looking too far ahead and start dreaming, then all of sudden someones going to smack you in the face where youre at and bad things happen. It wasnt until the parade is when it sat in for me.
The players, along with manager Terry Francona, and coaches Brad Mills, Dave Wallace, Ron Jackson, and Lynn Jones, arrived for the ceremony riding on duck boats, as they did during the celebratory parade eight years ago.
You remember the tightness of that team, Millar said. We werent the best players. We had a few superstars with Pedro and Manny Ramirez. But we were the best unit.
But, Martinez still has one more thing he wants to accomplish at Fenway Park.
Ive been to the Green Monster many times, he said. Everyone has the history of signing the Green Monster. I refused to until I won for Boston. And I keep forgetting every time I come back. Now I feel like I can finally sign it and leave my name on the Green Monster. And I havent signed it yet.
Now we can all go and sign it and say Mission Accomplished.