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by Harold Friend
Pedro Martinez had two of the greatest consecutive seasons of any pitcher in baseball history, when he pitched for the Red Sox in 1999 and 2000. In 1999, Pedro Martinez won 23 games, and in 2000, he won 18, win totals that are not unusual for a top pitcher. They are win totals that have been attained hundreds of times, but when one examines Pedro Martinez' complete pitching records for those seasons, one appreciates the greatness of those two years.
A Unanimous Cy Young Award Winner in 1999
In 1999, Pedro Martinez became only the third pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in each league, joining Gaylord Perry and Randy Johnson. Finishing with a record of 23-4, a 2.07 ERA compared to the American League's 5.02, and a 0.923 WHIP (Walks + Hits/Innings Pitched), and an average of 13.2 strikeouts a game, Pedro was a unanimous selection, a feat only Roger Clemens, Ron Guidry, and Denny McLain achieved as American Leaguers.
A Second Cy Young Award in 2000
Pedro told reporters "I just hope I am able to do it again, and improve on it." In 2000, Pedro did just that. His win total dropped to 18 and he lost 6 games, but he reduced his ERA to 1.74 compared to the league's 5.07 and his 0.737 WHIP is the lowest in baseball history. Once again, Pedro Martinez was a unanimous Cy Young Award winner. Perhaps the most significant revealing statistic is that Roger Clemens finished second in ERA with 3.70, which was almost two runs a game higher than Pedro's 1.74.
One of the Worst of All Trades
The Red Sox acquired Pedro Martinez from the Expos in November 1997, when they sent Carl Pavano and Tony Armas to Monreal. It was one of the worst trades ever made, ranking with Frank Robinson from Cincinnati to Baltimore for Milt Pappas, but the financially challenged Expos had little choice, Pedro Martinez continued his Hall of Fame career in Boston and is ranked in the top ten pitchers of all time by most experts.
Why Pedro Martinez' Two Seasons Are Even Better Than Believed
The seasons following the 1994 baseball strike is rapidly becomes labeled "the steroid era." We will never know how many players used performance-enhancing substances, but their use, the shrunken, inconsistent strike zone, the allegedly livelier baseball, and smaller ballparks make Pedro Martinez' 1999 and 2000 pitching seasons even more remarkable. And yes, he was better than Roger Clemens.
By BUSTER OLNEY. (1999, November 17). Martinez Wins A.L. Cy Young Unanimously :Martinez Wins Cy Young Award. New York Times (1857-Current file),p. D1. Retrieved April 2, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 117150986).
BUSTER OLNEY. (2000, November 14). No Surprise, Martinez Gets Cy Young Award. New York Times (1857-Current file),p. D3. Retrieved April 2, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 364282322).
Dodgers Trade for DeShields. (1993, November 20). New York Times (1857-Current file),p. 33. Retrieved April 2, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 116303593).