BOSTON -- Pedro Martinez is arguably the most likably and respected pitcher in Red Sox history.
He spent seven seasons in Boston and helped the Red Sox win a World Series title in 2004, erasing 86 years of baseball misery in this town. Every time he returns to the city, Martinez always speaks glowingly about the Red Sox and their fans.
He also always has a colorful story to tell.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner has been in Boston for the last few days, along with many of his former Red Sox teammates, as the club is concludes its season-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.
The Sox are set to name their All-Fenway team tonight and you can be sure Martinez will be on it.
After winning in 2004, Martinez left Boston and signed with the New York Mets. When asked Tuesday whether he would have stayed with the Red Sox if the team did not win the Series, Martinez admitted he would have called it a career.
“I probably would have retired right after then,” Martinez said. “I would have been so disappointed. I came here with a purpose and that was a purpose, and I’ll say I was probably the only player out of all the players that felt like he had something to achieve for this team, because I was called in to build a team around me as the ace of the team. It took me to the last year to actually finally get it, but I could easily say ‘mission accomplished.’”
Part of the mystique of Fenway is the famed Green Monster. If you’re lucky enough to walk inside, you’ll see names written on the walls of both former and current players. Martinez said on Tuesday he has yet to sign his name because he wanted to wait until the Red Sox won the World Series, but he’s never taken the time to do it in his return trips.
“I refused to until I won it for Boston,” he said. “And I keep forgetting every time I come back, I keep forgetting but know I feel like I can sign it and leave my name in the Green Monster.”
Of course, one of the most entertaining stories about the Green Monster is recent history is when former Red Sox slugger and left fielder, Manny Ramirez, went inside the wall during a game and relieved himself.
“I’m going to sign really high so Manny doesn’t pee on it,” Martinez said. “Now we can all go and sign it ‘mission accomplished.’”