Pedro Martinez spent seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox from 1998 through 2004.
A ton of players filtered through Boston in that time, but the Red Sox, for the most part, remained competitive, eventually winning a World Series title in Martinez’s final season.
Some of the players Martinez took the field with in Boston were good. Some weren’t.
Some of his Red Sox teammates were memorable, whether it was for their on-field performance or an off-the-field quirk. Others were just plain forgettable.
So, let’s try something now that Martinez’s No. 45 will forever adorn the right-field facade at Fenway Park. How about we run down the top 45 Red Sox players of Martinez’s Boston tenure?
It’s a difficult exercise for several reasons, many of which center on context.
Do we give more weight to a player with an iconic moment or one very good season than another player who provided three steady seasons? Should we factor in things like team performance, organizational impact or even personality?
Rather than sitting here all day and debating parameters for what essentially is a meaningless (albeit fun) activity, let’s go over a couple of quick notes and then start shooting from the hip.
These rankings are based solely on what each player did during Martinez’s Red Sox tenure (1998-2004). In other words, everything David Ortiz — spoiler: he’s on the list — has accomplished since 2004 is irrelevant. It simply didn’t happen in this bizarro world we’re about to stumble into.
More weight inherently is given to players who played with Martinez in Boston for a longer period of time. There’s no guarantee such players will outrank their one-year wonder counterparts, though. A player’s peak performance, value and contributions to the greater good all are considered. So yes, this list has a soft spot for those who suited up in 2004. The rings don’t lie.
Keep in mind this is an inexact science. In fact, there’s nothing scientific about it whatsoever. The list mostly is based on the eyeball test and admittedly is littered with personal biases, as you’ll soon see.
It’s all about stimulating discussion with No. 45’s number being retired. There’s no harm in that.
Let’s take it from the top.
1. Manny Ramirez — An unbelievable hitter. Oh yeah, and all that “Manny being Manny” stuff.
2. Nomar Garciaparra — Phenomenal player in his prime. Changed the shortstop position.
3. Jason Varitek — The man on the receiving end of Pedro’s greatness. A damn good catcher.
4. Derek Lowe — Pedro once said he’d give the ball to D-Lowe over himself in a big game. Who am I to question Pedro?
5. Trot Nixon — The original dirt dog. Played alongside Pedro for the right-hander’s entire seven-year run in Boston.
6. David Ortiz — Only spent two seasons with Pedro, so it bumps him down this list. But he did plenty in those two seasons (2003 and 2004) to still rank highly.
7. Curt Schilling — Spent one season pitching alongside Pedro (2004). There was that whole bloody sock thing and the Red Sox won the World Series.
8. Johnny Damon — That beard. That hair. That presence at the top of the order.
9. Bill Mueller — Underappreciated. Clutch hits. One of the most random batting titles ever.
10. Kevin Millar — Cowboy Up.
11. Tim Wakefield — Enjoyed Pedro’s entire run. Carved out a pretty successful career, too. Let that knuckleball float, baby.
12. Brian Daubach — Four seasons of 20-plus homers.
13. Troy O’Leary — A steady player for seven seasons in Boston, four of which came alongside Pedro.
14. Keith Foulke — Him jumping into V-Tek’s arms in 2004. Just think about it. Then grab a tissue.
15. Mo Vaughn — The Hit Dog only played one season with Pedro in Boston. And he was good.
16. Carl Everett — We don’t discriminate against those who don’t believe in dinosaurs.
17. Mark Bellhorn — 2004 World Series. Game 1. Eighth inning. Pesky’s Pole.
18. Bret Saberhagen — Not just known for his cameo in “The Scout.”
19. Tom Gordon — Flash converted 54 consecutive saves in 1998 and 1999.
20. Ugueth Urbina — Good pitcher before he went all psycho.
21. Shea Hillenbrand — An All-Star in 2002. Seriously.
22. John Valentin — Was nearing the end but still produced in 1998 and 1999.
23. Doug Mirabelli — Arrives on this list with a police escort.
24. Jose Offerman — Better before he arrived in Boston. Still feel bad about that phantom tag, though.
25. Rich Garces — El Guapo. Most appropriate nickname in the history of sports.
26. Mike Timlin — The man wore camouflage. You tell him he’s not on this list.
27. Alan Embree — Recorded the final out of the 2004 ALCS. Looked like he could kick your ass.
28. Hideo Nomo — Threw a no-hitter back when it didn’t happen every four hours.
29. Orlando Cabrera — Big shoes to fill after Nomar trade. Filled them well for half a season.
30. Rod Beck — Swung his arm with reckless abandon on the mound. RIP.
31. Dave Roberts — He stole that base, you know?
32. Bronson Arroyo — Kind of a hippie. But it’s all good, man.
33. Gabe Kapler — Grady’s Ladies don’t hold a candle to Gabe’s Babes.
34. Mike Stanley — Flip-flopped between the Red Sox and Yankees like an animal. Posted 19 homers and a .393 on-base percentage in 1999.
35. Pokey Reese — Recorded an assist on the final out to cap Boston’s 2004 ALCS comeback. Also had a cool name and a crooked hat.
36. Todd Walker — Career-high 85 RBIs in his only season with the Sox.
37. Scott Hatteberg — Serviceable run as a catcher in Boston before Brad Pitt made him a star.
38. Cliff Floyd — Traded twice in July 2002. Sneaky good for Red Sox down the stretch (.316 average, seven home runs, 18 RBIs, .935 OPS).
39. Darren Lewis — Remember that time he tried to dropkick Jaret Wright? I do.
40. Damon Buford — Nice fourth outfielder who made the most of his opportunities in 1999.
41. Dante Bichette — Decent pickup in August 2000. But it’s all about the bat flip.
42. Lou Merloni — Appeared in parts of six seasons. Still kicking around Boston. We’ll give him some love.
43. Doug Mientkiewicz — He caught the ball. And then he stole the ball, or whatever. But he caught it.
44. Mike Benjamin — Impeccable sideburns. Resembled Quint from “Jaws.”
45. Ramon Martinez — All family members welcome.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@TheaterNation