A New York Times bestseller“Pedro the book is as smart, as funny, and as diva-esque as Pedro the pitcher . . . Buy the book. Read the book. Celebrate a golden era in Boston baseball.” — Boston Globe “There is little the eight-time All-Star holds back about any subject as he offers a revealing look at a colorful career . . . The intimate details Martinez offers up from both inside and outside the clubhouse make the book a winner.”—Washington Post Pedro Martinez entered the big leagues a scrawny power pitcher with a lightning arm who they said wasn’t “durable” enough, who they said was a punk. Yet Martinez willed himself to become one of the most intimidating pitchers to have ever played the game, an eight-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner, World Series champion, and Hall of Famer. In Pedro, the always colorful pitcher opens up to tell his remarkable story. From his days in the minor leagues clawing for respect; to his early days in lonely Montreal; to his legendary run with the Red Sox when, start after start, he dazzled with his pitching genius; to his twilight years on the mound as he put the finishing touches on a body of work that made him an icon, this memoir by one of baseball’s most enigmatic figures will entertain and inspire generations of fans to come. “This is the beauty of this book, the machinations of a modern pitcher's mind . . . Knowing and gritty, this memoir should’ve been printed on rawhide.”—Los Angeles Times
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
PEDRO MARTINEZ is an eight-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner, 2004 World Series champion, and Hall of Famer. He serves as a special consultant for the Boston Red Sox. MICHAEL SILVERMAN is a baseball columnist for the Boston Herald.
Read an Excerpt
I wasn’t trying to be funny.
I was in no mood.
An hour after our Game 2 loss in the 2004 American League Championship Series, I had been led into the Yankee Stadium media dining room, a cramped and stuffy, low-ceilinged, ill-suited space used for postseason press conferences. I had just showered and my slicked-back jheri curls were still wet, dampening my shirt. I settled slowly into my chair behind a table with a single microphone on it, a red-white-and-blue ALCS banner serving as my backdrop.
I fielded a couple of game-specific questions about my start.
I waited patiently for the question.
We were down 0–2 in the series, and the Yankees and their fans were in high spirits. They had us on our heels. It didn’t help that just a few weeks earlier at Fenway Park I had been in the hot seat in a similar postgame press conference after a similar loss in one of my starts.
That’s when I had blurted out that the “Yankees are my daddy.”
I should have known better.
My quote filled a convoy of long-haul trailers with chum, enough to keep a pool of media sharks content for the weeks leading up to this postseason game, this time in enemy territory. The instant I walked out of the visitors’ dugout to warm up, a cascade of rhythmic “Who’s your dad-dy?” chants rolled down from the rafters. The jeers did not let up until I was out of the game. It was loud—impressively loud.
Now I had to endure the obligatory press conference. Somewhere from the crescent of newspaper and radio reporters, photographers, and TV cameramen who surrounded me, one reporter asked the question, phrasing it in my least favorite way: Talk about . . .
“Talk about how the crowd affected you, the ‘Who’s your daddy?’ chant that was really going, screaming your name—talk about that, please?”
I threw them my changeup.
“You know what, it actually made me feel really, really good,” I said, which sparked the ripple of laughter that spread around the room.
I took a quick, unsmiling survey of the faces around me. To me, the laughter sounded nervous.
A familiar ignorance.
“I don’t know why you guys laugh, because I haven’t even answered the question,” I said, pausing a beat until my scolding brought the tittering to a halt. “I actually realized that I was somebody important, because I caught the attention of 60,000 people, plus you guys, plus the whole world watching a guy that if you reverse the time back 15 years ago, I was sitting under a mango tree without 50 cents to actually pay for a bus. And today I was the center of attention of the whole city of New York. I thank God for that.
“I don’t like to brag about myself, I don’t like to talk about myself, but they did make me feel important. I’ve seen a lot of teams pass by and play against this team, the Yankees, and maybe because I’m with the Red Sox, but I feel so thankful that I got their attention and they got my attention.”
From where I’m sitting today, on a white wicker rocking chair on a flagstone patio across the path from my cottage at la finca, I can look up the gentle rise of the hill and see the tips of the shiny, dark green leaves from that same mango tree.
Its branches hang over a scuffed gray-and-white slab of concrete, a 15-by-20-foot rectangle that is the foundation, all that’s left, of the shack where I grew up with my two sisters, three brothers, and parents. A sleeping area divided by a sheet hung from the ceiling, a couch and small kitchen on the other side of the sheet—that was it. One room, four walls, a front door, and a roof covered with corrugated zinc sheets. Outside the front door was a ditch-lined dirt street, no different from every other dirt street in Manoguayabo, a village that sprawls over the steep hills eight miles due west of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic.
Step out the front door of the shack, take three more steps to your right, and there stands the mango tree.
Before my father was born in Manoguayabo in 1929, and before The House That Ruth Built went up in the Bronx in 1923, that mango tree was there. The infamous 1930 Dominican Republic hurricane, San Zenon, one of the hurricanes that too regularly spin furiously across our island of Hispaniola, flattening shacks and small buildings, flooding villages and towns, and ripping up sugar cane fields and orange groves, toppled our mango tree.
Its deep roots held, though.
The tree did not die, but its main trunk grew parallel to the ground for a few years before it began to bend upward and resume its skyward reach. The setback created a crook in the trunk, a perfect-sized bench for a small boy like me to climb onto with a book or just to lie back and watch shards of blue sky and puffy white clouds flicker in and out of view between the rustling leaves. I would climb high some days, searching for a ripe mango, or higher still to break off a branch to use for a baseball bat or just to whip around.
For me, to travel in time and space from a pitcher’s mound, even the one located in baseball’s most sacred and historic diamond, back to a single tree in my homeland was more than a comfortable and familiar routine.
It was a survival skill.
Ever since I began playing baseball professionally with the Dodgers as a 16-year-old in their Dominican academy in Campo Las Palmas, and as I rose quickly through the Dodgers’ minor league system and then on to big-league rosters in Los Angeles, Montreal, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, I stood on the mound with the instincts of a survivor.
I had the essentials, beginning with the heart of a lion.
Behind every pitch lay the determination and will to win: to kill rather than be killed.
In between pitches, my mind, my wandering mind, would race everywhere.
Early on, when I was in the minor leagues and measuring up the opposing batter, I would conjure up a scene straight out of the most gruesome Hollywood blood-and-gore slasher flick: my mother, strapped tightly by ropes to a chair, her mouth gagged, her eyes clenched shut, too terrified to look down at the tip of a knife held to her throat by the leader of a gang of kidnappers.
Your move, Pedro.
Her life, in my hands.
If I could not get this batter out—and the next one, then the one after him, and then the leadoff batter in my next start five days later—then the kidnappers would carry out their threat and my mother’s throat would be slashed.
Later, after I had proven I could get batters out as well as anyone else in the game, I switched to subtler forms of motivation.
Skeptics who doubted that my slender body could withstand the rigors of starting; coaches who belittled, berated, or fed off of me like leeches; jealous teammates who wanted to fight me; batters who charged me because they mistook my need to pitch inside for a desire to knock their heads off; a baseball establishment that tried to slow my entry into the rarefied air as one of the elite pitchers of all time; rude media members who probed where they shouldn’t have and harped on the negative—my God, baseball was a noisy, teeming jungle.
I had more than enough prey to feed upon.
When my dad finally died in 2008—the same year the old Yankee Stadium hosted its final game—those motivational sojourns became too taxing, too much effort for too little in return, especially as my body began to wear down—the early warning signs that my career was drawing to a close.
But on October 13, 2004, people thought that a few jeers at a baseball game had got under my skin?
They had no idea who that man was standing on the mound.
That I heard boos as cheers and brought up my mango tree made people laugh.
A few of them thought I was a little loco.
I had never felt that enough people appreciated my honesty. The Boston writers would frequently tell me I spoke better English than Roger Clemens, but I still felt that the meaning behind my English words was too blunt or too deep to be grasped.
Table of Contents
Part I 1971-1989
1 More Than a Game 3
2 Heart of a Lion 13
Part II 1990-1993
3 Dodgertown Blues 25
4 Sweet Home Montana 38
5 King of the Jungle 51
6 "It's Ramon's Little Brother" 56
7 Off the Bus 65
8 Fragile: Handle With Care 75
Part III 1993-1997
9 Je Ne Parle Pas Francais 85
10 Far North of the Border 91
11 Señor Plunk 96
12 Click 112
13 Dan, You Made a Bad Trade 123
Part IV 1998-2001
14 Well, I Love That Dirty Water 135
15 Command Performance 147
16 "Petey's in the House" 158
17 Art and Craft 167
18 Alpha Male 175
19 The Beginning of the End 185
Part V 2002-2004
20 An Ugly Chapter 199
21 Body of Work 204
22 A Little Cranky, That's All 211
23 Blame Game 222
24 "If You Sneak Into My House, I Will Shoot You" 236
25 "Who's Your Daddy?" 244
26 Top of the World 254
Part VI Since 2004
27 "Take That Computer and Stick It …" 267
28 Fresh Start for an Old Goat 279
29 Fading to Black 290
30 Last Pitch 296
Career Statistics 315
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a good quick read. You really get the back story on Petey and what made him play with such a chip on his shoulder. His hatred of the Dodgers is also explained in detail. Overall this is a must read for Sox fans and baseball aficionados. Even though his career tails off at the end due to injuries Martinez walks among giants forever after helping the Sox finally win it all again in 2004.
Great player. Inspiring story!
You couldn'f lpay me enough to read this book