Had the Red Sox not won the World Series that year, falling to the hated Yankees instead for a second straight year, the legendary pitcher may have called it
quits. From his vantage point, the guilt from failing Boston yet again would
have been unbearable.
“I would have probably retired right after then,”
Martinez said. “I would have been so disappointed that I came in here with
a purpose, and that was the purpose. I’ll probably say that I was the only
player out of all the players that felt like he had something to achieve for
this team. I was called in to build the team around me as the ace of the
Fortunately for Martinez, the Red Sox rallied back from a
0-3 series deficit against New York and mounted a run to the 2004 World Series title. While he
played five more seasons — for the Mets
and Phillies — he’ll always hold the Red Sox in the highest regard.
That’s why he refused to pen his signature in the Green
Monster until Boston captured a World Series. It’s certainly a sacrifice, since
signing the inside of the infamous wall has been a tradition for current and
former Red Sox players.
As of Tuesday night, Martinez still hadn’t inked his
name. He admitted to forgetting over his past trips, but guaranteed that he’d
finally christen the Green Monster during this trip to Boston –– and in style.
“I keep forgetting — every time I come back I keep
forgetting — but now I feel like I can sign it, and leave my name in the Green
Monster,” Martinez said. “I’m going to sign really high so that Manny
[Ramirez] doesn’t pee on it.
“Now we can all go and sign and say, ‘mission
accomplished.’ To me, it would have been the most disappointing thing that ever
happened in my career.”
Instead, Martinez capped his seven years in Boston with a