Pedro: 'I did it clean'

BOSTON -- Having pitched at the height of the steroid era, Pedro Martinez says he played clean and is proud of that fact, hammering home that point on Tuesday during his Hall of Fame news conference at Fenway Park.

"When I said I did it clean, I wanted to mention that because I was called different names. I was criticized sometimes," Martinez said. "If I tell you, 'Was it fair?' Probably not.

"I went the long way, the way I had to go. The way that the integrity my mom and dad taught me to have led me to. And when I said I kept it clean, I did it clean. I did it the only way I know. I didn't believe in anybody's choice to go out there and I wanted to do it clean. I had an opportunity more than once. I had an everyday opportunity to take the short path to a more successful year and escape the criticism from the media and being singled out for someone that is going to miss two or three outings a year. Yes, I chose to miss those three outings and not miss the respect and appreciation guys are having for me today. That's what I meant when I said I kept it clean."

In being elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility on Tuesday, Martinez appeared on 500 of the 549 ballots cast by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, good for 91.1 percent.

Martinez spent 18 years in the major leagues, winning three Cy Young Awards. He was 219-100, struck out 3,154, led the major leagues in ERA five times and in 2004 helped the Boston Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years.

Pressed further about the subject of performance-enhancing drugs, Martinez noted that he likely wouldn't be entering the Hall on the first ballot if he had used PEDs during his career. He said he took more pride in what he was able to accomplish given the added difficulties that pitching in the steroid era brought.

"If I didn't do it that way, I would have probably gone in eventually," Martinez said of playing clean. "But the fact that I did in that era, in a different era that was probably the most difficult era that baseball has ever faced, when the challenges were maxed, made you appreciate what I did.

"Because of the fact I did it the way I did it and the integrity I carried while doing it is probably what mattered to me going into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. I appreciate the fact that I had to face probably the toughest matchups out there, and guess what? I didn't want it any other way. I wouldn't want it any other way.

"I wanted to beat the best. I wanted to be the best I could be every time I went out there. I wanted to embarrass the best team out there. I wanted to. I meant to. Sometimes they embarrassed me, but when I got a hold of them, I did embarrass them. Anytime I had an opportunity to embarrass any team in the big leagues, including the ones that used PEDs, it was a great honor to do it. The same way -- every homer I surrendered, every game I lost, I am proud of. I am proud that I did it in an era that the challenge was at the top."

In this year's voting, players commonly associated with PEDs, such as Roger Clemens (37.5 percent), Barry Bonds (36.8 percent), Mark McGwire (10 percent) and Sammy Sosa (6.6 percent), again failed to receive enough votes to come close to a spot in the Hall.

Given what those players were able to accomplish on the field -- clean or not -- Martinez offered his sympathy toward their the Hall of Fame situation.

"My personal feeling is that I am sad for everyone that should be in there and is not. Everyone that probably earned it and is not because they've taken the choice path," he said. "Right now, what I'm going to do is suck this moment in, enjoy it with everyone.

"What I've done is done, and I'm happy with it."