It might be hard to imagine given the Boston Red Sox’s success over the last 14 years, but there was a time when Yankee Stadium was a house of horrors for the Sox.
Perhaps no game or heartbreak stands out more than Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series. We all know how that went. Pedro Martinez started for Boston, he pitched well, manager Grady Little left him in too long, and Boston ended up losing in extra innings.
Boston’s success since then, which includes three World Series titles and a Red Sox win in this year’s league division series, has healed a lot of those wounds. But it doesn’t mean there aren’t still scars.
Martinez’s role in that Game 7 ordeal remains fascinating, as the Hall of Famer has said on multiple occasions that he doesn’t blame Little for how he handled things and that Martinez wanted to stay in the game. It just ultimately didn’t work out.
Martinez, now working for TBS, sat down to reflect on that fateful night in a revealing interview during which he consistently defended Little.
Check out the interview below.
Among the interesting revelations is that Little asked Martinez if he had one more hitter to begin the eighth inning. That hitter was Nick Johnson, with whom Red Sox reliever Allen Embree struggled with that season. Martinez got Johnson out, but obviously the outing didn’t end there.
“I wanted to be protective of Grady,” Martinez said, explaining why he hadn’t revealed that before. “He deserved it. He was a good manager, a good person to play for.”
Of course, there was nothing Martinez could do to save Little’s job in the moment, and the Red Sox ultimately fired the veteran manager. Perhaps the best thing that could have happened was the Red Sox winning the World Series a year later, essentially taking Little off the hook for his late hook.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports
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