Pedro Martinez opens up about the disappointing end to the 2003 Red Sox season in his new autobiography. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Pedro Martinez in new memoir: 'The blame was my own' for 2003 Game 7 loss to Yankees

May 01, 2015 - 9:14 am
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Pedro Martinez's new memoir, "Pedro," is set to be released Tuesday. On Thursday, Sports Illustrated released some excerpts, dealing mainly with the 2003 Red Sox season and the rivalry with the Yankees. The 2015 Hall of Fame selection discusses the memorable fight with New York in Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS, in which Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer charged Martinez, who pushed the 72-year-old aside. "In my entire baseball career, my reaction to Zimmer's charge is my only regret," Martinez wrote, adding: "All I did was help him fall faster. Pure instinct. I also felt he wasn't going to hurt himself. Andy Pettitte came over, laughing. He said, 'Zim, what are you doing?' The fight broke up as everyone tended to Zimmer, who had a scratch in between his eyes but luckily was fine." Red Sox fans remember that series for the 11th-inning, Game 7 home run by Aaron Boone off of Tim Wakefield, ending Boston's season. "Boone's 11th-inning home run off of Wakefield ended the last tragic chapter in the Red Sox' 85-year World Series drought. I wanted to cry," Martinez said. "All of us were stunned, but we felt the worst for Wakey, who was sitting in front of his locker, his head buried in his hands. One by one, we walked over to put an arm around him: 'Hey, man, it's not your fault.' " Martinez started that game, and he agrees with the generally accepted feeling in Boston that he was left in the game for too long by manager Grady Little, although he said it was his own responsibility for blowing a 5-2 lead in the eighth inning. "I could have easily gotten an out if only I had executed. I didn't execute, and it cost Little his job -- and us a trip to the World Series," Martinez said. "It wasn't Little's fault, and it wasn't Wakey's fault. The blame was my own." Earlier in that season, the Red Sox starter was at the center of another conflict with the Yankees. After Kevin Millar was hit by Roger Clemens two days before, Martinez hit New York's leadoff hitter, Alfonso Soriano, in the hand, but Soriano swung at the pitch and struck out. Yankees captain Derek Jeter was up next. "I sailed one in on his hands and got him good," Martinez said. "Both he and Soriano had to leave the game early to have X-rays taken. I told some teammates, 'At least I gave them a discount on an ambulance -- they both got to go in the same one.' That comment surprised Derek Lowe. He told me he figured that when I hit batters, it was an accident 90 percent of the time. He was 100 percent wrong. When I hit a batter, it was 90 percent intentional." Apart from Martinez, one of the most important members of the 2003 team, both on the field and in the clubhouse, was Manny Ramirez. "Manny confounded everyone on the club. That was a big part of his appeal," Martinez said. "Everything seemed out of place unless Manny was in la-la land, keeping us guessing what he would do next. How would he wear his hair? Why did he spray me with half a bottle of his cologne? Why did he ask me, 'Hey, did you know there are men on their way to the moon right now?' "Once, he came up to my locker and put on my socks and my underwear and then went over to David Ortiz's locker and put on his undershirt. 'Why are you doing that, Manny?' I asked. " 'I don't know. Do you?' " 'No, I really don't.' " 'Did you know I've got three little midgets working on me all the time in my head? Today they needed different clothes to wear.' "

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