Even if you're a Red Sox fan who wants nothing to do with the Hall of Fame anymore, Tuesday is a special day. Pedro Martinez, a first timer on the ballot, has been elected to the baseball Hall of Fame after receiving 91.1 percent of the vote, and for that we can all be thankful.
Pedro is arguably the greatest pitcher ever, depending on your definition for such things. He didn't have the longevity of Roger Clemens or Greg Maddux, but his peak is without contest, in which he posted a 2.20 ERA over a seven-year period encompassing the greatest era for offense in the history of the sport. For context, that's more than half-a-run better than what Bob Gibson managed during the most pitcher-friendly era in the modern game -- the one that resulted in the lowering of the mound to make things fair for hitters again -- and it's why Martinez is the only pitcher since 1901 with a career ERA+ better than 150 over at least 2,000 innings.
So, even if Pedro didn't have the career value of some other arms, no one achieved more in the time they were given. He out-Koufaxed Sandy Koufax, made Boston forget about Clemens, and helped transform the Red Sox into the winners they're recognized as today. Hall of Fame honors were the least the sport could do for him.
Martinez was signed by the Dodgers in 1988, made it to the majors in 1992, and was dealt to the Montreal Expos after just three starts and 64 relief appearances. The Dodgers ended up with the useful but limited Delino DeShields, while Expos' general manager Dan Duquette ended up with a franchise-changing arm. Pedro would blossom as a starter, throwing nearly 800 innings with a 139 ERA+ in his four years there, before Duquette traded for him again. This time, Duke was at the helm of the Red Sox, and sent prospects Carl Pavano and Tony Armas to his former club for Pedro shortly after the righty had won his first Cy Young award. It turns out this was the start of a seven-year run where Martinez would throwing over 1,400 innings, strike out 1,761 batters while walking just 315. He allowed fewer than a baserunner per inning during the greatest offensive era in history, posted a 2.20 ERA and 213 ERA+ in that run, and did this despite having to pitch against the powerhouse Yankees and in Fenway Park during almost all of it.
Pedro won three Cy Young awards, finished in the top four for the Cy on seven occasions, and should have been the AL Most Valuable Player in 1999 if not for one writer leaving him off of his ballot entirely. His career was cut short by injury, with Martinez throwing just 314 innings from age 34 through age 37 before calling it quits, but what he accomplished before the health issues is legendary. There has only been one pitcher like him in the history of the game, and mere words do not do what he was capable of justice. To truly understand Pedro, well, you just need to watch him in action.
As for the other Red Sox on the ballot, Curt Schilling failed to reach the 75 percent threshold even though he's at least as good as John Smoltz, who was inducted with 240 more votes. You have to assume that eventually, maybe on a less crowded ballot, Schilling gets the enshrinement he deserves. Roger Clemens also didn't make the cut, though, given the contentious arguments surrounding whether his performance is overshadowed by PED controversy, that's not a surprise to anyone. Nomar Garciaparra just reached five percent of the vote, which is only delaying the inevitable. It mostly makes us wonder what could have been with him if he had just stayed healthy.