Pedro Martinez's Great 1999 and 2000 Red Sox Seasons

Harold FriendChief Writer IApril 2, 2009

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26:  Pedro Martinez #45 of the New York Mets looks on from the dugout against the Florida Marlins on September 26, 2008 at Shea Stadium in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Pedro Martinez had two of the greatest consecutive seasons of any pitcher in baseball history when he pitched for the Red Sox in 1999 and 2000.

In 1999, Pedro Martinez won 23 games, and in 2000, he won 18, win totals that are not unusual for a top pitcher.

They are win totals that have been attained hundreds of times, but when one examines Pedro Martinez's complete pitching records for those seasons, one appreciates the greatness of those two years.

A Unanimous Cy Young Award Winner in 1999

In 1999, Pedro Martinez became only the third pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in each league, joining Gaylord Perry and Randy Johnson.

Finishing with a record of 23-4, a 2.07 ERA compared to the American League's 5.02, and a 0.923 WHIP (Walks + Hits/Innings Pitched), and an average of 13.2 strikeouts a game, Pedro was a unanimous selection. Roger Clemens, Ron Guidry, and Denny McLain achieved the feat only as American Leaguers.

A Second Cy Young Award in 2000

Pedro told reporters: "I just hope I am able to do it again, and improve on it."

In 2000, Pedro did just that.

His win total dropped to 18, and he lost six games, but he reduced his ERA to 1.74 compared to the league's 5.0.  His 0.737 WHIP that season is the lowest in baseball history. Once again, Pedro Martinez was a unanimous Cy Young Award winner.

Perhaps the most significant, revealing statistic is that Roger Clemens finished second in ERA with 3.70, which was almost two runs a game higher than Pedro's 1.74.

One of the Worst of All Trades

The Red Sox acquired Pedro Martinez from the Expos in November 1997, when they sent Carl Pavano and Tony Armas to Monreal.

It was one of the worst trades ever made, ranking with Frank Robinson from Cincinnati to Baltimore for Milt Pappas, but the financially challenged Expos had little choice. Pedro Martinez continued his Hall of Fame career in Boston and is ranked in the top ten pitchers of all time by most experts.



Why Pedro Martinez's Two Seasons Are Even Better Than Believed

The seasons following the 1994 baseball strike is rapidly becoming labeled as "the steroid era."

We will never know how many players used performance-enhancing substances, but their use, the shrunken and inconsistent strike zone, the allegedly livelier baseball, and smaller ballparks make Pedro Martinez's 1999 and 2000 pitching seasons even more remarkable.

Yes, he was better than Roger Clemens.

References

Pedro Martinez at Baseball_Reference

By BUSTER OLNEY. (1999, November 17). Martinez Wins A.L. Cy Young Unanimously :Martinez Wins Cy Young Award. New York Times (1857-Current file),p. D1. Retrieved April 2, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 117150986).

BUSTER OLNEY. (2000, November 14). No Surprise, Martinez Gets Cy Young Award. New York Times (1857-Current file),p. D3. Retrieved April 2, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 364282322).

Dodgers Trade for DeShields. (1993, November 20). New York Times (1857-Current file),p. 33. Retrieved April 2, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 116303593).

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