Pedro Martinez earned 91.1 percent of the vote to become the 16th first-ballot Hall of Fame pitcher. (Ryan Hannable/

Pedro Martinez: 'Great honor' to 'embarrass' PED users when playing

Ryan Hannable
January 06, 2015 - 1:25 pm

Playing in the era that he did, Pedro Martinez could look to make excuses for a few of the home runs he gave up, a few games he lost, etc. After all, he did play in the height of the steroid era, but that isn't who Martinez is -- he embraced it and wouldn't have wanted it any other way -- and that is why Martinez was voted into the Hall of Fame Tuesday on his first year on the ballot. Martinez received 91.1 percent of the votes (500 of the 549) and will be inducted along with Randy Johnson, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio on July 26 in Cooperstown. He became one of 50 players ever to be inducted in their first-ballot and one of 16 first-ballot pitchers. "I appreciate the fact that I had to face probably the toughest matchup out there, and guess what? I didn't want it any other way," Martinez said Tuesday at a press conference at Fenway Park. "I wouldn't want it any other way. I wanted to beat the best. I wanted to be the best I could be every time I went out there. I wanted to embarrass the best team out there. I wanted to. I meant to. Sometimes they embarrassed me, but when I got a hold of them, I did embarrass them. "Anytime I had an opportunity to embarrass any team in the big leagues, including the ones that used PEDs, it was a great honor to do it. The same way every homer I surrendered, every game I lost, I am proud of. I am proud that I did it in an era that the challenge was at the top." The right-hander was a three-time Cy Young Award winner and an eight-time All-Star. During his 18-year career he went 219-100 with a 2.93 ERA. His career .687 winning percentage ranks second among modern major leaguer's since 1900. Among pitchers with at least 2,500 career innings in the majors, only Nolan Ryan (.204) has a lower opponent batting average than Martinez (.214). Martinez said he had plenty of chances to go the "long way" and not be clean, but instead he chose to miss two or three starts a year, which sometimes came with criticism in the media. He said that is all worth it now. "I went the long way, the way I had to go," said Martinez. "The way that the integrity my mom and dad taught me to have, led me to. And when I said I kept it clean -- I did it clean -- I did it the only way I know. I didn't believe in anybody's choice to go out there and I wanted to do it clean. I had an opportunity more than once, [probably every day] to take the short path to a more successful year and escape the criticism from the media and being singled out for someone who is going to miss two or three outings a year. Yes, I chose to miss those three outings and now have the respect and appreciation guys are having for me today." The pitcher became the second Dominican player to make to the Hall of Fame, joining Juan Marichal. He is also the first player born in the 1970's to be inducted. "First-ballot Hall of Fame, thank you for appreciating for how I did it. The fact that you guys believed in the way I did it is the main reason proof that you won," he said. "Doing it this way led me to going into the Hall of Fame as a first-ballot. If I didn't do it that way -- I would have probably gone in eventually -- but the fact that I did in that era, in a different era that was probably the most difficult era that baseball has ever faced." Martinez admitted he never thought he would ever be in the Hall of Fame, and has so much respect for the guys he will be going in with, but he did keep coming back to doing it clean, and that is what led him to being a no doubt, first-ballot Hall of Famer. "Super, super players," he said of Johnson, Smoltz and Biggio. "I wasn't supposed to be, but because of the fact I did it the way I did it and the integrity I carried while doing it, is probably what mattered to me going into the Hall of Fame on the first-ballot."