The Red Sox have announced that they will retire the eighth number in team history (not including Jackie Robinson's #42, retired across all of baseball) on July 28th when they hang Pedro Martinez' #45 up for good in a pregame ceremony.
The ceremony will come just two days after Martinez is inducted into the Hall of Fame, for which he was a no-doubt first ballot selection. Over 18 years in the game, Martinez recorded 219 wins to just 100 losses, producing a 2.93 ERA over 2827 innings with 3154 strikeouts and just 760 walks despite pitching at the height of the steroid era. Martinez spent seven of his best years with the Red Sox, winning two of his three Cy Young awards with the team, making four All-Star rosters and finishing second in the MVP voting in 1999.
Simply put, while other pitchers may have lasted longer, there is perhaps no pitcher in the history of baseball who can match Pedro Martinez at his best. Pitching in tiny Fenway Park in the immediate wake of the 1998 Home Run record race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, Pedro threw 430 innings over two seasons, recording nearly 600 strikeouts with a 1.90 ERA. Tim Keefe is the only player to be more dominant compared to the league over the course of a single season as Martinez was in 2000, and he pitched in 1880!
No matter where he began his career, or where he finished it, there was never any question that Pedro Martinez would wind up in the Hall of Fame, and should someday become the first pitcher to have his number retired by the Boston Red Sox. When you bear witness to the history someone like Pedro made here, when you have the honor of saying the best of all time did his best work wearing your uniform, that's not something you allow to be forgotten.