Best Pitcher of our Era

Growing up in the 90’s I saw many dominant pitchers in the prime of their careers and yes, even ones not linked to baseball’s kryptonite; steroids. You had guys like Greg Maddox, Tom Glavine,  and Randy Johnson, just to name a few, but one  stands out more than any other, and that man is Pedro Martinez; one of the most dominant pitchers of the 90’s and into the new millenium as well. Pedro possessed a plethora of dangerous pitches, and he wasnt afraid to throw any of them, on any count. There was no guessing on Pedro Martinez, and that is what made his so deadly. If you were gearing up for a fastball on a 3-1 count he would throw a change-up, if you thought a breaking ball on  0-2, BOOM, there’s a 2-seamer on the inside corner that you looked foolish on, because you thought it was gonna hit you, but instead, strike 3. Better luck next time. Pedro was not afraid of any hitter, and he was certainly not afraid to throw inside and send a message. You can ask Derek Jeter about that. Every time you saw Pedro in the lineup you knew you were about to see something special.

Pedro had many classic starts with the Red Sox, some still talked about today. A 1-0 shutout  beating Roger Clemens at Yankee stadium. A masterful 17 strikeout performance against the Devil Rays “beaning” the very first batter of the game, and asserting his dominance thereafter. The 1999 game 5 against the Indians at Jacob’s Field, playing hurt, he came in relief pitching 7 perfect innings. 1999 was a dominant year for Pedro all around with a record of 23-4, a 2.07 ERA, 313 strikeouts and allowing opponent’s to hit only .205 against him. Are you kidding me? Is there any other starting pitcher that had a year like that in recent memory? The next year in 2000 his ERA was 1.74 and his batting average against was .164, and he was a starter people. Do you know how hard it is to do that? It’s near impossible.

Pedro’s focus was unmatched by anyone, not just in baseball, but in sports as a whole. When he put that foot on the rubber, it was game time. He had the face of a hungry lion hunting his prey and it stayed that way the whole game, even in the dugout. Pedro was a clown any other day of the week, but when it was his game, he kicked that little kid in him out and let the beast in. Pedro said he knew he would dominate you when he stepped on the mound and the distance to home plate looked microscopic. That domination happened more times than not.

Pedro possessed many deadly weapons. A blazing straight fastball, a screw ball “like” 2 seam fastball, an almost un-hittable change-up, a knee buckling breaking ball, and an occasional slider. The way he mixed those pitches was almost sinful. Any pitch, any count. If you were lucky enough to hit a home run against Pedro you might as well have started your next at bat on the dirt because that first pitch was gonna knock you down. Once again, ask Derek Jeter about that. Pedro dominated a time in baseball plagued by juiced balls, corked bats, and steroids That’s what makes him the best

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