Pedro Martinez is arguably the best pitcher in MLB history. He dominated the American League during one of the most absurdly offensive eras of all time -- Pedro's 1.74 ERA was nearly two runs better than the next-best AL pitcher during the 2000 season. Martinez was in Bristol on Wednesday to promote his book, appropriately titled "Pedro." We took the opportunity to ask him about the five toughest hitters he ever faced. Here, in no particular order, is his list -- complete with their head-to-head stats against him. As you'll see, the toughest hitters weren't always the ones who did the best against Pedro:
vs Pedro: 43 PA, .333 AVG, .488 OBP, .576 SLG, 1.064 OPS, 1 HR
"You know the presence of Barry Bonds," said Pedro. "You're facing Barry Bonds." Bonds' numbers against Pedro are excellent -- but then again, Bonds' numbers against most everyone were excellent.
vs Pedro: 25 PA, .120 AVG, .333 OBP, .120 SLG, .453 OPS, 0 HR
Martinez was one of the toughest outs in the game, but he only ever managed three hits against Pedro. Still, the process of getting Martinez out was difficult enough. "Not only patient, but he would foul off pitches that would wipe out anybody else," Pedro said.
vs Pedro: 121 PA, .271 AVG, .350 OBP, .439 SLG, .789 OPS, 4 HR
Jeter faced Pedro more times than any other batter -- exactly 15 more times than Bernie Williams, in fact. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Jeter performed better against Pedro than teammates Bernie Williams (.649 OPS), Jorge Posada (.760 OPS), Alex Rodriguez (.730 OPS), or Paul O'Neill (.540 OPS).
vs Pedro: 65 PA, .345 AVG, .406 OBP, .448 SLG, .855 OPS, 1 HR
One of the more surprising names on the list, the always-underrated Lofton was a "pesky" out for Pedro to get. Lofton was even notoriously difficult for Pedro to strike out -- he fanned only six times in 65 plate appearances.
vs Pedro: 23 PA, .217 AVG, .280 OBP, .217 SLG, .497 OPS, 0 HR
Though Suzuki and Edgar Martinez couldn't have been more different on the field, they did share one thing in common when it came to facing Pedro -- they each had a habit of "messing up good pitches", and, as a result, seemed to bring out the best in Pedro.