Friday, January 03, 2014

2013 BBS Awards: Lifetime Achievement Award

This award goes to someone who has distinguished themselves for more than a year, for more than a few years. It belongs to those who have built a career of achievement. People who you can't stop talking about what they've done. People you tell stories about. Previous winners include Red Auerbach, Jerry York, and Cam Neeley.

This year, this most coveted of awards goes to Pedro Martinez.

Pedro was the most dominant pitcher of his era, an era that was dominated by juiced balls and juiced hitters.

And speaking of PEDs, I think it's safe to say Pedro didn't use them. His muscle mass was too low, he was slow to recover from injury, and his performance deteriorated with age in a natural way.

In the year 2000, in the American League with DHs, off a 10 inch mound, when the league ERA was 4.91, Pedro challenged Bob Gibson's modern era single-season ERA record of 1.12. Pedro finished with a 1.74 ERA.

Pedro won 3 Cy Youngs, and he probably should have won more. He finished second in the 1998 AL voting to Roger Clemens. This is around the time that Clemens had begun to use PEDs. In 2002 Pedro went 20-4, led the AL with a 2.22 ERA, and 239 strikeouts, yet lost the Cy Young to Barry Zito. Zito had 3 more wins than Pedro.

Pedro was also robbed of an MVP Award in 1999, when he finished second in the voting to Ivan Rodriguez. Pedro actually got one more first place vote than I-Rod. He went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts. But some voters thought a power hitting catcher was more valuable.

Pedro never threw a no-hitter. Technically. On June 3, 1995, pitching for the Expos he threw 9 perfect innings. But it was a 0-0 game after 9 so it went into extra innings. He gave up a hit in the 10th and was relieved. The Expos would win 1-0. He didn't even get credit for the 'W.'

In the 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park, Pedro stole the show from the steroid enhanced sluggers. Pedro struck out 5 of the 6 batters he faced: Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Jeff Bagwell. Those batters have a combined 2,222 career HRs, by the way.

He led his league in ERA 5 times, in complete games once in 1997, in strikeouts 3 times, in WHIP 6 times, in K/9 5 times, in K/BB 4 times. He was an 8-time All-Star, he has the 6th best win percentage of all-time, the 5th best WHIP of all-time, the 3rd best K/9 of all-time, the 13th most strikeouts, the 3rd best K/BB ratio of all-time.

He was a key part of the 2004 World Series winning Red Sox.

He was an idiot before the Red Sox were Idiots.

He threw at batters when he himself had to bat in the NL (yet another reason he's superior to Roger "shrunken attachments" Clemens).

The day he pitched was an event. It had anticipation to it. The ballpark had a buzz. The City had a buzz. Days Pedro pitched were the most coveted of Red Sox tickets. Before the 2004 World Series run, Pedro was the Red Sox.

I would argue that he's the best pitcher in Red Sox history. He's a certain Hall of Famer, and the number 45 should be immortalized on Fenway's right-field facade.

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