BOSTON — It isn’t easy to stand out when you’re surrounded by some of the greatest baseball players ever to play the game. Unless you’re Pedro Martinez, that is.
Martinez was the main attraction Sunday at the 2015 National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The former Boston Red Sox ace’s immediately unforgettable speech both closed and stole the show.
“They left the last for best, I guess, right?” Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz said with a smile shortly after watching Martinez’s speech from the Red Sox clubhouse at Fenway Park. “I think it was incredible. He was very emotional, as always. And the most important thing: always thanking God and the fans for holding tight with him. It’s usual, you know? Pedro being Pedro.”
Ortiz, who, like Martinez, hails from the Dominican Republic, is the only holdover from the Pedro era in Boston. The two played just two seasons together (2003 and 2004), but Ortiz had nothing but effusive praise for his former teammate.
“Pedro was special,” he said. “Pedro … as much as we know about Pedro, that’s how he was. Pedro (was an) unbelievable competitor. Best stuff I’ve ever seen in a pitcher. And the most important thing, an incredible human being.
“I think a lot of people misjudge Pedro because of the way he was about his business, you know what I’m saying? Besides that, Pedro is a very Christian person and person that has much love for everyone. … I don’t think you can ever be around a better human being than what he is. I was watching the whole (speech), and it was very emotional. It was what I was expecting.”
Martinez was his usual exuberant self throughout the proceedings, from his on-stage dance moves to his referring to fellow inductee Randy Johnson as his “brother from another mother.” To Ortiz, that was no surprise — there’s no stopping Pedro from being Pedro.
“I know Pedro very well,” Ortiz said. “What I saw was the guy that I know. It was good that this happened, because being a fan, being a fanatic, sometimes you get the wrong idea about us. (There are some things that) if you’re not following us on a daily basis, if you don’t watch us really closely, you would never know. Like, I don’t really know Randy Johnson, but when I saw his speech, it kind of hit me. Now I look at him differently, you know what I’m saying? And I’m pretty sure a lot of people — not a lot of people, a small amount of people, because I don’t think Pedro Martinez has anybody that’s hating on him. Pedro is a class-act guy, and what you see is what you’re going to get.”
Thumbnail photo via Gregory J. Fisher/USA TODAY Sports Images