I don’t exactly remember who said it, which thread it was even in or when I even read it, but I do remember copy and pasting something from a discussion in one of the many Pedro threads around the internet that described him in his prime in a way I thought was unique, interesting and possibly even factual.

At his peak? I can say without hesitation that I believe that Pedro '99-'00 was the best there ever was and the best there ever will be. I think that no one has ever had as good a two year period as those two Pedro years, and I'm not just talking about pitchers. I don't think anyone's ever been as good at anything as Pedro was at throwing a baseball. I'm talking Einstein's '21 season, Churchill's '41-45 campaign, and Hendrix's '67-68

Pedro’s ‘99-00 was better. While I understand the concept of that with pitching, quality is in large part of a function of quantity, I feel that a lot of people don’t place enough value on the quality of Pedro’s work and just how significantly he was able to distance himself from his contemporaries.

Just look at the type of pitcher he was to display such mind numbing dominance. Before his shoulder injury in 2001, I don’t think it would be stretching reality to state Pedro had the best repertoire of any pitcher... ever. Most of the better pitchers in the game’s history implemented two overwhelming pitches in their arsenal that could consistently get hitters out in dominant fashion. For instance, Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax had their fastball and curve, Gibson and Carlton had their fastball and slider, Clemens had/his fastball and splitter, etc.

Pedro on the other hand, featured three dominant out-pitches: a 95-98 mph four-seam fastball which he could spot anywhere in the zone with precise pin-point location and would literally "explode" on hitters as it reached the plate. If there was ever such a thing as a "rising fastball", Pedro’s was the perfect example of such. He would combine an overpowering fastball with an even more lethal pitch than any of the aforementioned - a change-up, thrown with exactly the same arm motion and arm angle as the fastball, only it would arrive at the plate 16-20 mph slower than heater, making hitters swing and miss by embarrassing margins. Pedro also had the ability to move the change across the K-Zone as it broke downward in what can only accurately be described as screwball-action movement on it, earning it the name of being a "Bugs Bunny" change-up. Although significantly less impressive than the other two main pitches, Pedro also had one of the better curves in the game, frequently making hitters look as if they were just seeing their first as 12-year old little leaguers. You knew he had three unearthly pitches that he would thrown in any count to any hitter in any game situation, and throw it for a strike. You could watch a Pedro start and make a guessing game out of trying to guess which pitch was coming next – was it the overpowering heater, the paralyzing change or the wicked breaking ball? Each was just as likely as the next, especially on those rare three-ball counts, and that’s one of the reasons he was so special and fun to watch.

One must also considered the era in which Pedro pitched and note the immensely ridiculous advantages pitchers such as Walter Johnson, Mordecai Brown and Christy Mathewson had in their favor in the dead ball era as well as those such as Gibson and Koufax, who pitched in the 1960s.

- They didn’t face lineups with a DH
- They pitched off a mound 5" to 8" higher
- Pitched with an expanded strike zone
- Pitched in larger ballparks
- Poor visibility in the CF batter’s eye
- Faced hitters who never worked out or touched a weight
- No body armor worn by hitters
- No batting machines for hitters
- No laser eye surgery for hitters
- The ability to pitch inside without repercussions

And here’s Pedro Martinez: a 5'10", 165 lb pitcher built like a bat boy, absolutely and throughly dominating hitters despite having every possible disadvantage thrown his way the likes of Walter Johnson and Bob Gibson never encountered. And yet, he's also besting them in raw, unadjusted numbers.

In 2000....

The AL ERA was an incomprehensibly inflated 4.92. Pedro’s ERA? 1.74. He’s the only starting pitcher in the history of baseball dating back to 1880 that ever posted an ERA more than three runs lower than the league average mark.

[HTML]ERA YEAR DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE
1 Pedro Martinez 2000 3.18 1.74 4.92
2 Pedro Martinez 1999 2.80 2.07 4.87
3 Greg Maddux 1994 2.66 1.56 4.22
4 Greg Maddux 1995 2.55 1.63 4.18
5 Amos Rusie 1894 2.54 2.78 5.32
6 Roger Clemens 1997 2.53 2.05 4.57
7 Dazzy Vance 1930 2.36 2.61 4.97
8 Kevin Brown 1996 2.33 1.89 4.22
9 Lefty Grove 1931 2.32 2.06 4.38
10 Al Maul 1895 2.32 2.45 4.78 [/HTML]

The second-best ERA in the league belonged to Roger Clemens at 3.70 - a difference of nearly two whole runs. Clemens was closer to the worst ERA in the league than he was to the best.

Only four times in MLB history has an ERA-leading pitcher posted an average more than a run better than the runner-up, and Pedro is the owner of two of those seasons. The other being 1999 of course, when he posted a 2.07 ERA to David Cone’s 3.44. The other two were Dazzy Vance in 1930 and Greg Maddux in 1994.

His Adjusted ERA+ of 285 is the best in the modern era of post-1900 baseball and second to only Tim Keefe’s 294 in 1880. And about Keefe’s 1880 season: At the time, the mound was just 45' from home plate and it took eight - that’s right, eight - balls to walk a single batter. Keefe also only pitched 105 innings in 1880, which all but eliminates him from the discussion anyway.

Pedro allowed just 6.64 hits and walks per nine innings, setting an MLB record. The second best all-time? Guy Hecker’s 6.92... in 1882. They’re the only two pitchers in history to have a rate below seven. What's more? Pedro allowed more than 4 fewer (H+BB) than second-place Mike Mussina.

His WHIP (essentially the same stat as the above) of 0.737 also tops the all-time list.

[HTML]WHIP YEAR RATE
1 Pedro Martinez 2000 .737
2 Guy Hecker 1882 .769
3 Walter Johnson 1913 .780
4 Addie Joss 1908 .801
5 Greg Maddux 1995 .811
6 Charlie Sweeney 1884 .817
7 Ed Walsh 1910 .820
8 Christy Mathewson 1909 .828
9 George Bradley 1880 .837
Christy Mathewson 1908 .837 [/HTML]

He allowed a mere 5.31 hits per 9 innings, which ties him for third best on the all-time single season list. However, when adjusted for performance against the league, he clearly comes out on top, with a rate 4.35 hits better than the average pitcher.

[HTML]HITS/9 IP YEAR DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE
1 Pedro Martinez 2000 4.35 5.31 9.66
2 Nolan Ryan 1991 3.61 5.31 8.92
3 Tommy Byrne 1949 3.28 5.74 9.02
4 Randy Johnson 1997 3.27 6.21 9.48
5 Hideo Nomo 1995 3.23 5.83 9.06
6 Nolan Ryan 1977 3.20 5.96 9.16
7 Pedro Martinez 1997 3.08 5.89 8.97
8 Herb Score 1956 3.07 5.86 8.92
9 Roger Clemens 1994 2.98 6.54 9.52
10 Roger Clemens 1998 2.97 6.48 9.45 [/HTML]

Some post-1900 MLB records set by Pedro (min. 200 IP for sake of credibility)

[HTML]BATTING AVERAGE AGAINST YEAR RATE
1 Pedro Martinez 2000 .167
2 Luis Tiant 1968 .168
3 Nolan Ryan 1972 .171
4 Ed Reulbach 1906 .175
5 Sandy Koufax 1965 .179
6 Dutch Leonard 1914 .180
7 Dave McNally 1968 .182
8 Pedro Martinez 1997 .184
Bob Gibson 1968 .184
10 Carl Lundgren 1907 .185[/HTML]

[HTML]ON-BASE AVERAGE AGAINST YEAR RATE
1 Pedro Martinez 2000 .213
2 Greg Maddux 1995 .224
3 Sandy Koufax 1965 .227
4 Pete Alexander 1915 .228
5 Sandy Koufax 1963 .230
6 Juan Marichal 1966 .230
7 Dave McNally 1968 .232
8 Bob Gibson 1968 .233
9 Luis Tiant 1968 .233
10 Babe Adams 1919 .235[/HTML]

The following is an interesting figure brought up by fellow NYYF poster beaker23 in a different thread, who had his own compilation of a number that measured strikeouts per base runner. He concluded that only 36 times in MLB history since 1885 has there been a pitcher with a K/BR above 1 in a single-season.

In 2000, Pedro struck out 284 batters while allowing just 128 hits and 32 walks for a total of 160 base runners (not including HBP) for a ML record rate of 1.78 K’s per BR. For good measure, he also has the second and fifth best. 2001 isn’t included because of limited IP.

[HTML]STRIKEOUTS/BASE RUNNER YEAR RATE
1 Pedro Martinez 2000 1.78
2 Pedro Martinez 1999 1.59
3 Randy Johnson 2001 1.48
4 Randy Johnson 1998 1.40
5 Pedro Martinez 1997 1.36[/HTML]

Other fun numbers:

Pedro struck out 284 batters in just 217 innings for a rate of 11.78 K’s per 9 IP, while the average pitcher whiffed a mere 6.27.

He walked only 32, which means he struck out roughly 8.8 batters per 1 walk issued – an American League record.

He had fifteen games in which he struck out 10 or more batters, and struck out 15 or more three times.

On August 2, he pitched 9 IP, 5 H, 2 ER against the Seattle Mariners and his ERA rose from 1.38 to 1.42. How dominant do you have to be when you pitch a complete game, 2-run gem and your ERA rises?

When he was on the mound, no pitcher in the AL went deeper into their outings on average than Pedro, would regularly pitch into the eighth inning at 7.5 IPS.

American Leaguers had a .472 OPS against him.

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All of the above are just facts and numbers anybody out there can find on their own if they look around. However, I won’t take credit for the following in-depth look at Pedro’s 2000 season by Allan Wood (some of the above was featured in his article as well), who writes the blog Joy Of Sox and is the author of a book on Babe Ruth and the 1918 Red Sox.

A closer look into Martinez's 2000 season:

He went 41 innings without issuing a walk (August 2, 7th inning to September 4, 2nd inning). What if a walk was eight balls now [as it was in 1880 when Tim Keefe had the only season that could rival Pedro's 2000 -- the plate was 45 feet from the mound]-- could Pedro go the entire season without passing a batter?

On June 14, after twelve starts, his ERA was 0.99. Let me say that again: Martinez’s was 0.99 -- in mid-June! Up to that point, he had allowed 10 earned runs in 91.2 innings. His ERA never rose above 1.81 (September 14) and he finished at 1.74.

Martinez faced only three batters in 112 of his 217 innings. He faced 3 or 4 batters in 179 innings -- 82.5% And he faced five or fewer batters in 206 of 217 innings -- a mind-boggling 94.9%. His other 11 innings were: 6 batters six times, 7 batters 3 times, eight batters once and nine batters once.

Martinez registered at least one strikeout in more than 80% of his innings (177 of 217). He struck out the side 10% of the time (22 of 217). He never went more than two innings without at least one strikeout in an inning. A string of two K-less innings happened only four times:

April 4: 6th and 7th innings
May 17: 6th and 7th innings
June 8: 4th and 5th innings
August 2: 2nd and 3rd innings

Working in a league where the average team scored 5.3 runs per game, Martinez allowed more than 3 earned runs only twice in 29 starts (June 25 and August 24). He allowed 2 runs or less in 21 starts and 1 run or less in 17 starts, and no runs in 10 starts.

Here are the numbers on his six losses:

0-6, 2.44 ERA -- 48 IP, 30 H, 13 R, 8 BB, 60 K

In these six games, while Pedro was on the mound, his teammates scored a total of 4 runs -- an average of 0.75 runs per nine innings.

American Leaguers hit .167, 60 points lower than second-place Tim Hudson (.227).

American Leaguers had a .213 on-base average, 78 points lower than second-place Mike Mussina (.291).

American Leaguers had a .259 slugging percentage, 121 points lower than second-place Bartolo Colon (.380).

Left-handed hitters had a .150 batting average, 56 points lower than second-place Roger Clemens (.206).

Right-handed hitters had a .184 batting average, 26 points lower than second-place Orlando Hernandez (.210).

With men on base, batters hit .160, 21 points lower than second-place Jeff Nelson - a relief pitcher (.181).

His ERA at home was 1.84 -- second-place Mike Mussina’s home ERA was 2.90.

His ERA on the road was 1.66 -- second-place David Wells’s road ERA was 3.24. Only seven pitchers had a road ERA under 4.00.

He allowed 1.33 walks per nine innings -- only David Wells allowed less, 1.21. But Wells allowed more hits than any other major league pitcher, 266.


Sources:

Baseball-Reference

Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia

MLB Historical Stats

Retrosheet

Sons of Sam Horn