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Cooperstown will get Boston's best

On Tuesday, Pedro Martinez will become the 12th pitcher who wore a Red Sox uniform to be elected into the Hall of Fame since it opened its doors in 1936. Of that celebrated dozen, Martinez is the first to prove his Hall worthiness primarily with the Sox.

Cy Young was 34 and already had won 241 games for Cleveland when he came to the Sox in 1901. Jack Chesbro made one start for the Sox at age 35. Herb Pennock was barely a .500 pitcher for the Sox, then won 162 games for the Yankees. Babe Ruth pitched for the Sox and became immortal as the Sultan of Swat for the Yankees. Red Ruffing had back-to-back 20-loss seasons for the Sox before going to the Yankees, where he won 20 or more in four straight seasons. Waite Hoyt spent just two seasons with the Sox before starring for a decade with the Yanks.

Lefty Grove was 34 when he came to the Sox, and already had won 195 games with the Athletics. Juan Marichal was the Dominican Dandy for the Giants before making a total of nine starts for the Sox. Ferguson Jenkins spent two seasons with the Sox; he played 10 years with the Cubs. Tom Seaver was 41 when he pitched for the Sox. Dennis Eckersley bookended his career with the Sox, but achieved greatness as a closer for the Athletics.

Martinez was 26 when he came to the Sox in 1998. The year before, he won his first Cy Young Award with the Montreal Expos, but his seven seasons with the Sox indisputably rank as the hallmark of his career, with back-to-back Cy Young Awards in 1999 and 2000 and a World Series title in 2004. As ESPN.com's Mark Simon recognizes in his story here, Martinez's performance in his Cy years with the Sox ranks among the greatest ever by any pitcher. In the past 84 seasons, only five Hall of Famers pitched in a game for the Sox: Grove, Marichal, Jenkins, Seaver and Eckersley. Then came Pedro, who was Eckersley's Sox teammate in 1998. In the annals of Sox history, he is in a class of one, a Dominican-incubated combination of skill, artistry, showmanship and genius, all coming to full flower during his time in Boston. El Magnifico.

He should be a unanimous selection for Cooperstown but won't be, denied votes by those who believe that his years of domination didn't last long enough, those who believe he's not first-ballot worthy, or those who believe that their right to vote entitles them to be contrarian for the sake of being contrarian, no matter the discredit it brings upon the entire voting body.

But Martinez's election is assured. Tuesday's announcement of the Hall vote will offer only the latest -- and most lasting -- validation of his greatness. He deserves every measure of joy and pride of accomplishment that the day will bring.

Still, the day should not pass without some acknowledgment that the honors bestowed upon Martinez on Tuesday could well have belonged to Roger Clemens, who for the third straight year will not come close to election. In 2013, Clemens' first year on the Hall ballot, he received 37.6 percent of the vote. Last year, that total fell to 35.4 percent, and that number is likely to fall even further in 2015, the result of the backlog of candidates created by an electorate torn on how to appraise steroid era players. Clemens is among their number, of course, and because of that, forfeited to Martinez the distinction of being the first Sox pitcher to earn Hall admission mostly for what he did in the Fens.

Clemens spent 13 years in a Sox uniform, almost double the time served by Martinez. Cy Young Awards, 20-win seasons, 20-strikeout games, all the attributes typically associated only with the best of the best, all negated -- at least in the unflinching judgment that currently holds sway -- by his links to PEDs. Clemens may have been the greatest pitcher ever to wear a Sox uniform -- some would argue he was the greatest pitcher ever. His plaque already could have been hanging in Cooperstown, his number affixed to the right-field grandstand on Yawkey Way, his statue keeping Yaz company outside of Gate B.

But this is Pedro's party. And where is Clemens? Outside, his face pressed against the glass.