BOSTON (CBS) — In just a few months, Pedro Martinez will take his place among the greatest baseball players of all time in Cooperstown.
But there is one person he wished could share such an honor with him: Roger Clemens.READ MORE: North End Fitness Center Joins List Of Businesses Requiring Staff, Customers To Be Vaccinated
Martinez was elected to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday, the final chapter of an incredible 18-year MLB career. He’s proud of the 219 career wins, bringing a World Series to Boston in 2004, and all those times he made an opposing batter look foolish at the plate.
But he’s most proud of the fact that he did it clean in baseball’s noted “Steroid Era.” Martinez said the temptation was there during his time in the minors, as other players received a call to the bigs and the huge paychecks that would follow, but it was never something he actually considered doing.
“It is important [to do it clean], but at the same time because of the era I played, I guess that question has to be raised all the time. I wish I didn’t have to answer it, honestly,” Martinez told WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton shortly after getting his call to the Hall. “That was my era. It will always come out ‘why did you do it so well in that era?’ I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people think I did something. I never did.
“Today, I can say publicly that that’s the reason I missed two or three starts every year – because I didn’t take the short path to heal my shoulder,” he said. “I took my exercises and my treatment like I should, like I was taught.”
Players accused of taking that “short path” are now on the outside looking in to Cooperstown. Clemens received 37.5% of the votes on Tuesday, well below the 75% needed for enshrinement. But Clemens is one player who Martinez said he looked up to when he was a young boy, recalling “The Rocket’s” breakout season in 1986, and said the 354-game winner should be able to take his spot with the best to ever play the game.
“Roger was someone we all admired, someone I wish I could be going in with. But that’s not happening, and it’s sad,” he said.
Martinez does think Clemens, who he said had “the best right-handed mechanics,” and others will be enshrined in Cooperstown eventually, but it won’t happen in the next few years.READ MORE: Newbury Street To Have 3 Car-Free Days In August
“Something has to change. They’re going to pay their dues until they have to,” said Martinez. “Personally, I think Roger was going to be a Hall Of Famer before he went into those things.”
There is one moment in his career that Pedro wishes he could take back, and while it involves the New York Yankees, it has nothing to do with calling them his daddies. Martinez regrets the melee that unfolded at Fenway Park during Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS, when he threw a charging Don Zimmer to the ground.
If he could do it all again, Pedro said he would just run away.
“It’s the only thing I regret on the baseball field that I ever did,” he said. “Fights, charging the mound, hit by pitches, hits — all of those things are normal in baseball. An incident with the coach or someone older than me, it was surprising and I just reacted. It was something I would have loved to never have experienced.”
What he’ll never forget though is the love he shared with the faithful fans of the Boston Red Sox as soon as he arrived in 1998.
“[It was] 100 percent pure, honest love. We just identified each other and clicked with each other,” he said of Boston fans. “We were a perfect couple. There is no such thing as a perfect couple, but we are the closest to a perfect couple.”
Catch Steve Burton’s full one-on-one with Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez Sunday night on WBZ-TV’s Sports Final at 11:30pm!MORE NEWS: Your 4 Community: Cradles To Crayons
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