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Pedro J. Martinez

Pedro Martinez

Pedro Wins 2000 Cy Young Award

On November 13, Pedro Martinez was awarded the American League's Cy Young Award. Like last year, the decision was unanimous, making him the first player ever to win the award unanimously in consecutive years. The announcement did not come as a surprise, considering the way in which Pedro dominated the American League this season. His ERA was a minuscule 1.74, less than half the 3.70 ERA which was second-best in the league, and three whole runs lower than the league average of 4.90. His 18-6 record is due to the fact that Pedro only received an average of 4 runs of support per game in 2000. (And a total of only 7 runs were scored over his 6 losses.) Compare that with the 6 runs of support he averaged last year, and the fact that he lost 4 games by one run this year, and his record could easily be 22-2. In fact, there were only two games in which Pedro gave up more than 3 runs. One was a 4-spot in Toronto right before he went on the D.L. The other was the 5-run inning against Kansas City. But after giving up 5 runs in the first and one in the second, he bounced back and only allowed one more hit as he pitched through the eighth inning, allowing the Red Sox to catch up and win the game in extra innings. Most great pitchers have a bad game here and there, even during Cy Young seasons. But Pedro had only one bad inning in his entire season. Wow!

Besides the amazing ERA, Pedro led the league in strikeouts (284), shutouts (4), strikeouts per nine innings (11.8), and opponents' batting average (.167). He struck out 10 or more batters 15 times. Want more stats? In 17 of his 28 starts, Pedro gave up one run or less. He faced 817 batters over the course of the season, and allowed only 32 walks and 128 hits.

2000 Cy Young Award Press Conference

Dan Duquette: The Red Sox are happy to announce today that Pedro has been voted the unanimous Cy Young Award winner for the American League for the second consecutive year. Pedro led the American League in five major pitching categories: ERA with a 1.74, strikeouts with 284, shutouts with 4, opponents batting average against .167 and strikeouts per nine innings with 11.8. He joins Jim Palmer, Tom Seaver and Sandy Koufax as pitchers who have won the Cy Young award three times and he joins Babe Ruth as the only Red Sox pitcher to win five games in April. That's really good company to be in. In his three seasons with the Red Sox, he is 60-17 and has put together some phenomenal strikeout number compared to his competitors within the league and throughout baseball. And he's been a great gift to the Red Sox franchise. We're very proud of Pedro's accomplishment. Pedro receives a nice bonus from the Red Sox for his Cy Young Award and he's one of only two AL pitchers in history to earn unanimous Cy Young award selections twice.

Pedro Martinez: Thank you, Dan. It really is a great honor to be part of this great franchise and it's always a pleasure to be able to get something to bring back to Boston, to my country and to the fans. Like Dan said, I'm really proud and very excited to join Babe Ruth and all those big names he mentioned. I just hope God will keep me healthy to keep on trying, to keep on trying to do things for Boston, for the team, for myself, for the people back home for everybody who roots for me, and for those who don't root for me, also.

Q: Which year was better for you? Last year or this year?

Pedro Martinez: I think they're equally as good. I wouldn't really choose one over the other. Each one has a little bit of taste. It might be different somehow but I think they're equally as important. Even though you didn't see the wins this year the ERA was a little lower and strikeouts were not quite 300. This year is just as special as last year with the exception that we did not make the playoffs. I would probably trade this award for the chance to play in the World Series and to see what we could do against any team in the National League.

Q: Which game would you consider to be your best performance this year?

Pedro Martinez: The game in Kansas City where I gave up five runs and the team permitted me to go at least eight because our bullpen was banged up and they needed help and I was the only pitcher available. And I was able to bounce back and not only give the team a chance to win but a chance to get our bullpen some rest that they really needed.

Q: Are you surprised to keep winning these awards?

Pedro Martinez: Individually, it's nice to have all three. After the first one you kind of get used to it. I've been so many things that I don't seem to be so impressed by winning one more award. It's always special to recognized -- it's great. But it comes with a lot of responsibility that you have to answer back to next year. When you win this year everyone wants you to win again. You win today and next year the same questions are going to roll over. I can just imagine what you guys will ask me when I get to Spring Training. "Can you do the same thing as you did last year? Can you match it?" This year, actually I didn't do it. I probably did better this year.

Q: How tough was it to watch the Yankees win another World Series?

Pedro Martinez: I didn't. I went to the farm with my Mom and played with the chickens. I stayed in a little wooden house hiding from everybody. No cable, no TV, a little river passing by. That's what I did.

Q: What has to happen now in order for the Red Sox to advance deep into the playoffs?

Pedro Martinez: I think what we need right now is to get the team playing together a little longer. We never had our team together at one point and when we did, we played really well. We need to get to know the new players, know their instincts and put them together, all that talent, in one set and let them play if we stay healthy. We lost Trot for a little bit, I went out for a little bit, Carl went out for a little bit. Everybody pretty much went out at a certain point. We never really had the team together and played together for a long period of time. If we can do that, we'll be able to pretty much win it all or at least play better.

Q: Over the next three years, is the team better with or without Carl Everett?

Pedro Martinez: That's a tough question. You have to play a season with or without Carl Everett to see which one is going to be better. From what I saw, Carl is a very good player. He's very smart player playing the game, very aggressive, hungry to win, a fearless player. I wouldn't hesitate to tell you I like Carl Everett. I don't want to see him go because I know he doesn't want to go. I know that for a fact. I talk with him more than anybody. And I'm not saying that I'm just going to protect Carl from everything. Right now he doesn't want to go, he wants to play the game, he wants to play it in Boston, he loves the atmosphere. He's a very friendly person off the field. On the field, he has that football mentality where he wants to knock you, wants to take you out and wants to win. And I can understand that. Things that come of it I can't tell you much. But I can tell you Carl is a nice person to us in the clubhouse to the players. To the team he's a great team player. He hustles out there and will break anybody for you. He wants to win and I don't mind that.

Q: Do you wonder how many years you have left or are you still in the prime of your career?

Pedro Martinez: I feel pretty good. I'll go out there a little banged up just like everybody else. But I don't feel like I'm really that old or that I'm going down. Actually, I feel like I'm learning every day. I think I have the chance to learn and understand so much more about the game and there's so much to learn everyday. I feel like I can still learn a little bit more about the game. My body's telling me that I'm getting older, yes. But I'm not feeling that bad. Actually, numbers would prove that. I can tell the difference.

Q: Major League Baseball has said that next season they are going to call the high strike. How might that help even more?

Pedro Martinez: I don't know -- I've never had it. I can tell you one thing: I'm not going to change my style. If it's not broken, why fix it, right? So far I've had success the ways things have been going. I wouldn't mind if they raised it a little but more to see what would come of it. It's supposed to be in my advantage but I wouldn't mess around with my ways of doing things. So far it's been pretty good to me. If I ask for more than that, I would be greedy, I guess. So I would just settle for doing what I've been doing so far and let them do their thing. If they want to raise it, fine. Let's see what the results come out of it.

Q: Have you had any conversations with Dan about the off-season and free agents?

Pedro Martinez: No. That's none of my business. Dan is there to do his thing. Dan is there to do his thing in his office. I'm in my locker, my weight room, and my Olympic Stadium in the Dominican getting ready for next year. If we talk, it will be as friends. I don't mind what he does, not even with my brother. Whatever happens with my brother I'm completely up to it. I don't want to be asked any questions. They did that thing on their own and it's going to remain like that. Whatever happens, happens. I understand both things -- the baseball part and the business part. My part right now is baseball, so whatever they do is up to them.

Q: If the Red Sox are successful in signing a pitcher like Mike Mussina, how would you feel about being the second-highest paid pitcher on the staff?

Pedro Martinez: I'd be really happy. That was my answer when I first signed here and I remain that way. I signed and I agreed happily to sign my contract and I thought it was really well paid. I wish that we could get Moose at whatever we can get him. Just get him because we need him. I wouldn't mind whatever they paid him. I think I make enough money. I agreed on my own to sign for that. I don't care what they're paying Kevin Brown or Randy Johnson. They deserve it. I had a lot of questions asked when I first signed my deal, and there was a lot of pressure to live up to the expectations that I had when I first signed that deal. I just hope that whoever signs for that amount of money lives up to the expectations. I wish them luck and I would be really, really happy if Moose comes over. I told him during the season that I would love to see him right behind me and go and compete to see who throws the most pitches -- to have a little competition between me and him. One dollar per pitch, whoever throws the most pitches per outing. I just hope I have that chance. It would be a great honor for him to come over. I don't mind being second.

Q: Is it frustrating to not have so much run support?

Pedro Martinez: When there's good pitching, there's no hitting. When there's good pitching, it doesn't matter how good of an offensive team you're going to have; you're going to have a close game. If you pitch, play defense and do the basics in baseball, most times you'll have success. I can prove that by watching my season. Every time I see somebody pitch against me, the games are 3-2, 2-1. If you pitch well and play defense and do the basics, you're going to win. If you don't do the basics, you're probably going to lose because the defense is going to do a little bit better.

Q: So if it would cost more to get a guy like Mike Mussina, would you tell the team "I don't care and to go and sign him no matter what"?

Pedro Martinez: I don't care what they do. We just need the help. If they want to pay him more, I don't care. They could give Ohka more than they give me. Ohka's just a rookie, but if he's going to help the team to win games, I need him. It's not my money. I know they're going to pay me mine and mine is enough. I don't really care. But they have to think about it that if they sign Moose for more than I make, when I become a free agent what is going to happen. But those are not my concerns. I'm happy.

Q: What else did you tell Mussina during the season?

Pedro Martinez: We just joked about the pitches because he saw how many pitches I was throwing each outing, the innings. Strikeouts -- he doesn't want to mess around with me. But complete games, innings, we're similar in a lot of things. So we just talked about some things. But I have a lot of respect for Moose and he's one pitcher I'll pay my money to watch. I'll buy a couple of extra seats in case I have more family coming over.

Q: Did you ever anticipate this kind of success way back when you began?

Pedro Martinez: Not at all. I even doubt myself sometimes. I doubted myself sometimes early in my career. But it doesn't surprise me. It doesn't surprise me anymore. And I know it's reachable now.

Q: You've put up back-to-back numbers that could go down as some of the greatest seasons in history. Do you look at your numbers now that the season is over?

Pedro Martinez: Honest to God, I haven't. I don't know my numbers yet completely. I know my record, I know my ERA because it's been mentioned so much. Even the kids back home, my nephews tell me about that. I didn't know I led the league in shutouts. I don't know how many innings I threw. The little details, the bases on balls. In fact, I don't even remember. I'm just glad I'm here. Whatever happens, I'll just gladly receive and I'll thank God for that. I don't pay attention to those things and I haven't yet.

Q: Are you expecting any Christmas cards from Cleveland fans?

Pedro Martinez: I don't see why not... If they respect the game and respect the players, I should.

Q: Where is it harder to play: at Fenway or on the road?

Pedro Martinez: I think I've been a pretty successful pitcher here at Fenway. Last year was rough. Some of those pitchers who came over, like Trachsel, had a career game. I think each pitcher that beat me here had a career game, and I don't know why that happened. To me, Fenway keeps on being friendly to me. Friendly Fenway is my favorite place to pitch, regardless of my record last year.

Q: What was your reaction to the situation in the World Series between Mike Piazza and Roger Clemens?

Pedro Martinez: After I got back from the farm at my Mom's house, I got the chance to see that. I have all the respect in the world for Roger. I know in the past me and Michael have had some exchanges and stuff like that. I've never had an incident with Roger, but I have a lot of respect and I admire Roger. But I thought that was a little disrespectful. I don't know if it was adrenaline or excitement. If you're able to focus to pitch a game, you have to realize that a player like Michael Piazza you have to respect. You don't do that. I hope Roger doesn't take that as a bad compliment from me. But I just didn't think it was right. I'm not defending Michael Piazza either, because you have to be honest. Roger Clemens is as good as anybody in baseball and it doesn't look good for him to do that. I've been excited in a lot of games. I don't know what it's like to be in a World Series -- yet. But I don't think I would do that. Pitching inside is a part of the game, just like hitting or defense. But to pick up a bat and throw it at somebody is an ugly scene in baseball.

Q: Dan, can you place in some historical context what Pedro has accomplished in the three years that he has worn a Red Sox uniform?

Dan Duquette: Well, Pedro won the Cy Young Award in 1997. In 1998, he had a good year but there was a period of time there where he was sick and he lost weight. Then, of course in 1999 and 2000 he put together extraordinary numbers, on a historical basis. So if you take away that month long period in 1998 -- I think it was like May 15 on -- he has really put together a remarkable run. Probably as good a performance including ‘97 to win the Cy Young Award three out of four years in both leagues. It has been just an extraordinary run, and a good year in ‘98 that was limited from a health perspective -- just an extraordinary run. The only way you can do that is to have a dedicated training program on a year round basis, which Pedro does, and he just turned 29. So you are talking about 26, 27, 28 -- just an extraordinary run on a historical basis. If you take a look at the strikeouts in particular and the ERA, it has been as good a run as just about any pitcher in history over a four-year period of time.

Q: In a historical perspective it is always easy to say there is no one as good as the past -- we always mention (Sandy) Koufax and all those great pitchers, (Bob) Gibson -- but in potentially what was one of the best ever, are we looking at one of the upper eschelon of all time?

Dan Duquette: Well, he just moved in with (Jim) Palmer and (Tom) Seaver and (Sandy) Koufax and he has an opportunity to continue to pitch at his young age. You know that will be dependent upon health and how he pitches going forward, but he has reached an extraordinary level at a young age -- extraordinary.

Q: Pedro, you mentioned your contract and the pressure that was put on you when you signed that contract. How much has that pressure helped you to get to that level that you have gotten to in the last several years? And do you like that pressure?

Pedro Martinez: Well, I don't like that pressure. I wouldn't say that. I wouldn't say I like the pressure of having to perform because of how much I make.

I have done something that I would suggest for everybody to do. And I will say it because now I have the experience and it is something that maybe me and Kevin Brown and Randy (Johnson) maybe understand... I don't know really, who is higher, Kevin (Brown) or Randy (Johnson), salary-wise…I don't know who is paid more.

Audience: Kevin Brown is paid higher.

Pedro Martinez: Then Kevin Brown and me may become the highest paid players in history.

I have never lacked confidence about my performing or about what I want to do out there. And what I want to do out there is give 100% effort and not let what you are getting paid get involved with you on the field. On the field, you have one goal -- it is to go and give 100% effort. If you are able to do that, you will not let that pressure get to you. If you give 100% effort and you are as good as Kevin Brown is, you are going to have more successes than defeats. I am sure he will do that if he can just put away what he is getting paid and go out to the field and do what he knows how to do.

I will repeat this again, and I said it -- what was it, two years ago... three years ago -- I have never seen a dollar... You could pile up a million on a mound and it will not throw a ball anywhere. And nobody would be able to swing at it because it just remains money. So I have never seen a dollar throw a pitch. The one that is going to throw the pitch is Kevin Brown -- it's me, it's (Mike) Mussina. So if they can just differentiate money from performance out there I think they are going to be okay.

Q: You have always said that your biggest concern is being as healthy as you can be along with conditioning and whatever. If you are as healthy as you feel right now next year -- next Spring Training -- do you think that you can be in the same position next year?

Pedro Martinez: I would not guarantee it. But I will give it a try. We will talk about it again in November and October after the World Series and everything. If you want to ask me the same question I will be happy to answer, but right now we have a whole season in front of us and a whole Spring Training. If I stay healthy I think it is possible. I think it is possible. I do not see why not. I will just wait and see. If you guarantee me health, I will guarantee you a big try and a big try could bring another season like this.

Q: Do you feel at all, when you have a season like this, because the team did not do as well, that it gets wasted?

Pedro Martinez: No. Not really. You win anyway. You don't win the World Series and you don't win the championship but you win experience... you win friends... you win good moments... you win in every sense.

Of course once a season is gone, you're not going to get it back. You are not going to get the same chances and everything else that you can think of. But you can always look at it in a positive way and say at least Pedro got the Cy Young and Nomar got a batting title. We've got Carl Everett, we got to know how people are, we got to know a different or new friend on the team, we got a new player.

We are all excited. When you look at it you say, hey, this was my job for one year. I earned my living. I earned my family good insurance to have food on the table every day. And I just spent one more season and I have to thank God because I did live it. I will look at it in a positive way and put it behind me and look forward to the next one. And keep praying to God that he keeps you healthy and gives you an opportunity.

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