Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Pedro Martinez on the mound in the 1999 All-Star Game.
It's impossible to choose between these two masterpieces. Pedro in 1999 was amazing. The list of individual moments he provided while also dominating baseball in the year in which the second highest total of homeruns in major league history were produced is stunning. Consider.
Pedro was MVP of the All-Star game: He started the game for the American League and proceeded to strikeout five of the first six batters he faced. Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, and Sammy Sosa in the first. Then Mark McGwire and Jeff Bagwell in the second.
Pedro pitched what many consider to be the most dominant performance by a visiting player in Yankee Stadium history. He pitched a complete game one-hitter, the one hit was a solo home run by Chili Davis. The Red Sox won 3-1 but Paul O'Neil summed it up best.
''We didn't get beat by the Red Sox,'' said Paul O'Neill, the Yankees' right fielder. ''We got beat by Pedro Martinez.'' http://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/11/sports/baseball-1-hit-17-strikeouts-no-way-for-the-yankees.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm
Pedro then injured his back in the postseason. With limited movement and his velocity hampered the Red Sox called on Pedro in the decisive game five against the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS. Pedro entered the game to start the fourth inning with the game tied at 8-8. He went the next six innings without allowing a hit, he walked three and had eight strikeouts to earn the decisive win.
His numbers that year were impressive as well. 23-4 with a league leading 2.07 earned run average. His whip ratio was 0.923 and he also led the league with 313 strikeouts. 1999 was a year of prolific offense in Major League Baseball. The second best earned run average in the American League was David Cone with a 3.44- more than a full run worse than Pedro.
As good as 1999 was 2000 was in some ways better. The Red Sox weren't as good a team so there were no chances for postseason glory. The wins were down to only 18 but the earned run average also dropped to an astounding 1.74. The league earned run average for the AL in 2000 was a historically bad 4.91. Yet Pedro somehow managed to finish with a number over three full runs below the league average.
His whip was also something to marvel at. By the year 2000 hitters had started to really work counts with more frequency. There were 8390 walks issued by American League pitchers in 2000 but only 32 of them were issued by Pedro. His season ending whip of 0.737 is the lowest by a starting pitcher in all of major league history- and it happened in the midst of one of the greatest seasons for offense in major league history as well. The other members of the top five for single season whip is a who's who of deadball era pitchers.
Guy Hecker in 1882 - 0.769
Walter Johnson in 1913 - 0.780
Tim Keefe in 1880 - 0.800
Addie Joss in 1908 - 0.806
To put that in perspective here are the Home run leaders in those leagues in the seasons in which those whip ratio's were achieved.
In 1882 there leader was George Wood with seven home runs.
In 1913 the leader in the American League was Frank Baker with 12 home runs.
In 1880 the leader in baseball was a tie between Jim O'Rourke and Harry Stovey with six home runs.
In 1908 the leader in the American League was Sam Crawford with seven home runs
In 2000- when Pedro had a better whip than every single one of those pitchers the home run leader in the American League was Troy Glaus with 47 home runs.
Pedro's production and dominance in the years of 1999 and 2000 were not just phenomenal for when they happened but now over ten years later with the advantage of some historical perspective one can surmise they were amazing when compared to almost any single season pitching performances from any time in any era.