Pedro Martinez squares off against Phil Esposito in the second round of the Boston’s Biggest Sports Legend tournament.
4. Pedro MartinezBaseball fans in New England were treated to one of the most dominant stretches of pitching in the history of baseball when Pedro Martinez came to Boston in 1998. In his first six seasons with the Red Sox, Martinez went 101-28 with a sterling 2.26 ERA and 1,456 strikeouts. The following season, Pedro went 16-9 as the Red Sox marched toward the postseason, where he pitched seven shutout innings in Game 3 of the World Series, helping break an 86-year-old curse. But even those numbers can’t accurately reflect what Pedro did for baseball in Boston. Pedro’s arrival heralded the arrival of a superstar in Boston. Pedro’s starts became an event, anticipated more than a Patriots game on a Sunday. Fans filled the bleachers, waving Dominican flags and counting K’s, and rarely did Pedro disappoint. In many of his starts, fans bemoaned double plays, because they simply took away a strikeout opportunity for one of the era’s most dominant aces.
5. Phil EspositoA few NHL superstars flirted with the century mark in points, but it wasn’t until Bruins sniper Phil Esposito racked up 126 points during the 1968-69 season that a player reached triple digits. The B’s lethal center was the goal scorer of his era, owning the scoring title in six of his eight seasons as a member of the Black and Gold. Espo played in 10 career All-Star games and retired as the second-leading goal and point scorer in NHL history. The proud owner of the No. 7 uniform in the Garden rafters captured five Ross Trophies and two Hart Memorial Trophies, and still holds the NHL record for career game-winning goals with 118, including 16 winners in the 1972 Stanley Cup-winning season for the Black and Gold. Esposito was instrumental in the B’s last two titles, notching 27 points in the 1970 playoff run and 24 in the 1972 title stretch.