The Red Sox are a historic franchise. Let’s face it, whether you love them or hate them, you certainly know about them. Over the last two centuries, the Red Sox have made endless amounts of trades and acquisitions. So how in the world can you pick just one as your favorite?
The Sox have made trades that they have won, trades they have lost, and trades both teams won. They have signed players that worked and signed players that didn’t work. For every David Ortiz, there is a Pablo Sandoval. For every Brock Holt, there is a Jerry Sands. For every Craig Kimbrel, there is a Tyler Thornburg.
So how do you decide? Well, for me, I have to think back to what player truly got me excited about baseball as a kid. Who drew me to the team and captivated my interest? Who truly shaped my childhood? Well, as a half Dominican former pitcher, it has to be none other than Pedro Martinez.
On November 18th, 1997, the Red Sox acquire Pedro for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas Jr. Both of those pitchers were serviceable, but you can’t consider that trade anything other then a massive win for the Red Sox. As we all know, Pedro become one of the most dominant pitchers in MLB history. Combine that with his electric personality, and there is no one I would rather connect with in my childhood.
Pedro’s stats with the Red Sox are otherworldly. 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA? A FIP that nearly always outperformed his ERA? Incredible strikeout numbers often surpassing 11 k/9? And, oh yeah, he did all of this in the height of the steroids era. We could go on for days about the incredible stats Pedro put up with the Sox, but everyone already knows how good he was.
But why did he mean so much to me as a kid? Well, in my community baseball wasn’t really the cool sport. It was all about basketball, and to a lesser extent, football. I didn’t have friends to really connect with on a baseball level. Then Pedro came, and I finally got to see someone I could connect to. I got to see someone like me dominating for the Sox. And I finally felt like I could belong. Nothing could possibly mean more to me.
I remember seeing Pedro in person at the 1999 All Star game. I will never forget the electricity in the stadium watching Pedro absolute now down the NL. As a kid, there is nothing more fun then the feeling of excitement around you, and the feeling that something amazing was being witnessed. From then on it became my dream to follow in his footsteps. I may have failed, but I’ll never forget the joy I had at the time, knowing that I could do what I love without needing justification.
So, picking Pedro as my favorite acquisition may seem easy to many. But to me, it went far beyond his pure dominance. I was able to appreciate him on a deeper level, and for that, he will always be my favorite.