Pedro Martinez Proud Of Being ‘Clean,’ Embarrassing Steroid Era Opponents

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BOSTON — Pedro Martinez?s small frame is one of the most fascinating images in baseball history.

Martinez, who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday, played at a time when beefy sluggers showcased Herculean power en route to posting offensive numbers the game had never seen. In response, the undersized pitcher dominated, often making his juiced-up opponents look foolish in the process.

?I appreciate the fact that I had to face probably the toughest matchup out there, and guess what? I didn?t want it any other way,? Martinez said Tuesday at Fenway Park. ?I wouldn?t want it any other way. I wanted to beat the best. I wanted to be the best I could be every time I went out there.?

Martinez excelled despite being a 170-pound hurler in the midst of the Steroid Era. The average ERA for a starter during Martinez?s career (1992-2009) was 4.49. Martinez posted a 2.93 mark while reeling in three Cy Young Awards, earning eight All-Star selections and winning three ERA crowns.

It was an incredible visual, partly because of Martinez?s size and partly because of how truly bad he made opposing hitters look. Yet despite the inherent disadvantages that came with being a pitcher during a time of offensive inflation, Martinez stayed the course and opted for a career centered on integrity, even if it meant missing a few starts per season to keep his body right.

?When I said I kept it clean (and) I did it clean, I did it the only way I know,? Martinez said. ?I didn?t believe in anybody?s choice to go out there, and I wanted to do it clean. I had an opportunity more than once — (probably every day) — to take the short path to a more successful year and escape the criticism from the media and being singled out for someone who is going to miss two or three outings a year.

?Yes, I chose to miss those three outings, and now I have the respect and appreciation guys are having for me today. That?s what I meant when I said I kept it clean.?

Martinez?s quest for success was complicated even more by pitching home games at hitter-friendly Fenway Park and facing offensively gifted teams within the American League East. One would never know it from his demeanor, his poise or the results. Martinez strived to overcome the odds and make his opponents look sheepish every fifth day.

?I wanted to embarrass the best team out there. I wanted to. I meant to,? Martinez said. ?Sometimes, they embarrassed me. But when I got a hold of them, I did embarrass them.

?Anytime I had an opportunity to embarrass any team in the big leagues, including the ones that used PEDs, it was a great honor to do it. The same way every homer I surrendered, every game I lost, I am proud of. I am proud that I did it in an era that the challenge was at the top.?

Martinez, a skinny product of the Dominican Republic, physically looked like a boy amongst men during the late 1990s and early 2000s. His remarkable success tells an entirely different story.

Click for Pedro’s top 10 Red Sox moments >>

Who did Pedro most hate to face? >>

Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@BGlobeSports

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