Pedro Martinez is presented with his plaque by Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson during the induction ceremony Sunday in Cooperstown. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Pedro Martinez: 'Boston, I don't have enough words to say how much I love you'

Mike Petraglia
July 26, 2015 - 1:40 pm

Pedro Martinez showed as much class in his Hall of Fame acceptance speech as he did in establishing himself as one of the greatest pitchers in Red Sox history. From 1998 to 2004, Martinez pitched for the Red Sox. In 1999 and 2000, Martinez authored two of the greatest seasons in baseball history on the mound, going 41-10 with a 1.90 ERA and a 0.830 WHIP in 58 starts. He won back-to-back Cy Young awards. In seven seasons with the Red Sox, he was 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA and a 0.978 WHIP in 201 starts. "Boston, I don't have enough words to say how much I love you," Martinez said during a 30-minute speech that began in English and ended in Spanish, as he addressed a huge Dominican audience that showed up with flags and shirts to honor one of the country's greatest athletes. "It's great honor to be here. It's great moment not only for me, for my family, it's a great moment for the Dominican Republic and Latin America," he said. Martinez was as grateful to those writers who voted him in on his first year of eligibility as he was the fans who cheered him on. "In '99, I had a little stretch when I felt you didn't like me, but you made it up and showed me you cared when it really matters," Martinez quipped with his trademark charismatic smile. His plaque in Cooperstown reads: "Featuring an electric arsenal of pitches that vanquished batters during an era of high octane offense, the fiery righty from the Dominican Republic owned the inside part of the plate with an exploding fastball and confounding change-up. Led league in E.R.A. five times and strikeouts three times en route to three Cy Young Awards and eight All-Star Selections. First pitcher to retire with 3,154 strikeouts in fewer than 3,000 innings. Won 219 games with an astounding .687 winning percentage. Posted 117-37 record in Boston, helping to lead Red Sox to 2004 World Series Championship." With fans cheering "Pedro, Pedro, Pedro," the former ace pitcher took a chance to pay tribute to his homeland, noting that this was Father's Day in the Dominican. "I dedicate this day to all the fathers in the Dominican. This is Father's Day in Dominican. Feel like this is your gift today," Martinez told those on hand from the Dominican. At the end of his speech, Martinez broke with some tradition and brought fellow Dominican Hall of Famer Juan Marichal up to the podium and held the Dominican flag as the crowd cheered loudly and passionately.