By Pat O'Rourke
One of the players that highlighted baseball’s ‘steroid era’ of the 1990s and early 2000s was right-handed pitcher Pedro Martinez.
Between 1997 and 2003, a time where astronomical numbers were being put up, Martinez’s numbers was the moon among the stars. Making 201 appearances, 199 starts, Pedro was an aggregate 118-36 with a 2.20 ERA and .940 WHIP, striking out 1,761 over 1,408 innings pitched. He won three Cy Young Awards, and was in the top three of the voting six out of the seven seasons. The only season he wasn’t came in 2001, when a shoulder injury limited him 18 starts and 116 2/3 innings, though he still managed a 2.39 ERA and 163 punchouts.
Because the historical numbers were put up while juicers/alleged juicers like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa rewrote the record books, it’s natural that the legitimacy of Martinez’s numbers would come into question.
But the 41-year old pleads his numbers aren’t tainted, though he admitted to Stan Grossfield of the Boston Globe that he was tempted by steroids as a struggling young pitcher in the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system.
“Every other guy that was taller and more good-looking got called up,” said Martinez, who pitched for the Red Sox from 1998-2004. “It seemed like it was going to take forever. That if I had a better body or added something to my body…”
Martinez pitched 18 years in the major leagues, winning 219 games with a 2.93 ERA, striking out 3,154 over 2,827 1/3 innings. He last pitched in 2009 with the Philadelphia Phillies, going 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA in nine starts.
The Red Sox hired Martinez as the Special Assistant to the General Manager in January.