Pedro Martinez is the most dominant pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball.
It sounds silly when you say it out loud.
Could the most dominant pitcher in league history really have done so right in front of our eyes without anybody really realizing it?
Yes, he could. And he did.
For seven seasons from 1997-2003, Pedro was better than any other pitcher in the history of baseball.
For those seven years, he finished either first (three times) or second (twice) in Cy Young voting every year except for 2003, when he finished third; and 2001, when he was injured mid-season (but was on pace for another top Cy Young finish).
In fact, he could have won it in all six full seasons he pitched from '97-'03 if not for Roger Clemens' steroid-boosted 1998 season and a blasphemous snub to Barry Zito in 2002 despite having superior stats to Zito in nearly every category but wins.
Over that same seven-year stretch, Pedro led the league in ERA in every full season he pitched but one and boasted an incredible win-loss record of 118-36.
And he did all this pitching in Fenway Park (a hitter's park) and in an era dominated by steroid users.
Is Pedro Martinez the most dominant pitcher in MLB history?
In 2000, he had the greatest season by any pitcher in the history of baseball. And it's not debatable.
That year he went 18-6 with a 1.74 ERA in a year where the American League average ERA was 5.07 (a clear impact of the steroid boom). He was nearly two runs better than the pitcher with the second best ERA (Roger Clemens, a steroid user by the way, was second at 3.70).
He also became the first starting pitcher in MLB history to have twice as many strikeouts (284) as hits allowed (128) in a season.
That year he held opposing batters to a .167 average, the lowest in MLB history. His .737 WHIP was also the greatest in baseball history.
His 291 ERA+ was the best of the modern era.
And no I'm not forgetting Bob Gibson's incredible 1968 season when he went 22-9 with a 1.12 ERA, all I'm saying is that the league average ERA that year was 2.90 compared to 5.07 when Pedro had his career year.
There's been plenty of pitchers in the history of baseball with mythical reigns of dominance: Sandy Koufax ('62-'66), Greg Maddux ('92-'95), Randy Johnson ('99-'02) and Christy Mathewson (1908-'13) all come to mind, but nobody has ever been as good as Pedro was for seven years.
And that's not only a promise, it's a challenge.
Try to prove me wrong. find me a pitcher who for a stretch of seasons (not a full career) was more dominant than Pedro was from '97-'03 and let me know in the comments section. I'll duke it out.