Editor’s note: NESN.com will reflect on some of Pedro Martinez’s most impressive and most interesting Boston Red Sox moments in the days leading up to his Hall of Fame induction Sunday, July 26 and his number retirement ceremony Tuesday, July 28 at Fenway Park.
Date: Aug. 29, 2000
Location: Tropicana Field
Opponent: Tampa Bay Rays
Moment in a word: Statement
If there’s one game that sums up everything you need to know about Pedro Martinez, this might be it.
Just four pitches into his outing, the Boston Red Sox ace drilled Rays batter Gerald Williams in the shoulder with a fastball. Williams glared at Martinez expecting an apology, but anyone who knows Pedro realized that wasn’t going to happen.
Williams immediately charged the mound, and a huge brawl broke out between the two American League East rivals, with Williams getting in several vicious swings. Such a disruptive event would be enough to throw pitcher off his game, especially if it happened in the first inning.
For Pedro, it did just the opposite.
The future Hall of Famer returned to the mound on a mission, allowing just one more baserunner the rest of the game — John Flaherty singled in the ninth inning — while striking out 13 and going the distance in an 8-0 Red Sox win.
Baseball-Reference.com pegs Pedro’s masterpiece with a 98 game score, a career-best he matched two other times. But considering the circumstances, this gem might be his best performance ever.
The Rays tried to test Martinez’s mettle, and they suffered the consequences dearly.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@CJNitkowski