Red Sox Hall of Fame inductees Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens and Nomar Garciaparra talk Jon Lester, Cooperstown and more at Fenway Park
|08.14.14 at 2:13 pm ET|
It was a blast from the past Thursday morning at Fenway Park, as three new members of the Red Sox Hall of Fame — Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens and Nomar Garciaparra — discussed a variety of topics with the media in the EMC Club.
While the hour-long press event mostly revolved around prior experiences and memories, Martinez took the time to discuss the present, focusing mostly on the departure of Red Sox ace Jon Lester, who was traded to the Athletics at the July 31 trade deadline.
“I hope he comes back, because he’s a perfect guy to actually have in the clubhouse, influence kids and I think [Lester] is a guy that I’m against seeing him leave,” Martinez said. “Openly, I’m going to say that I’m not happy that Lester is not here anymore. I would like him to come back and we had that talk in the outfield and during bullpen sessions, during games. I hate to see that Lester is gone because he’s a workhorse, he’s a good example in the clubhouse, he’s a role model in society … He’s everything you need for a young group of guys that are developing.”
Clemens, as he did earlier during his interview with Middays with MFB, remained mostly mum on his opinions regarding whether or not he will eventually get enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but added that his preference, if he does get elected, would be for his plaque to feature him donning a Red Sox cap.
“I don’t think you have any control over that, I made light of it and said I was going to wear a [University of Texas] Longhorn visor,” Clemens joked, adding: “I don’t think you have any control over that. … Obviously, [the preference] would be Boston, because I spent most of my time here.”
Martinez also commented on the debate regarding Clemens’ chances of one day getting the call to Cooperstown, stating that players such as Clemens and Barry Bonds should be voted into the Hall due to the fact that they compiled enough accolades before PED accusations began to sprout up.
“I think Roger, with all due respect to everybody that votes, I’ll have to say Roger and Barry Bonds are two guys that I think had enough numbers before anything came out to actually earn a spot in the Hall of Fame,” Martinez said. “I’m not quite sure, 100 percent, how close they will be before all the things came out, but in my heart, if you ask me before any of that, I would say yes - 100 percent - without looking back. … I believe they have a legit chance and I think, with time, the voters will take into consideration what they did previously.”
Following are more highlights from the media session:
Clemens on whether he identifies himself as a Red Sox above all of the other teams he played for: “Sure. I spent 13 years here and I worked hard. Like I said, this is where I got my start, I got my nickname here and the kids today still call me ‘Rocket’ more than they do ‘Roger,’ so it’s pretty cool. At home, I probably have more Red Sox stuff that I do any other club that I played for.”
Garciaparra on the 2004 season: “Obviously, it was devastating being traded, no question about that. But I was happy for them winning the World Series. For me, that my teammates made feel like a part of it, which was great. I was grateful. When they were going through the playoffs, I was getting calls from them when they were on the bus, like, ‘Hey, did you see that? Did you see what we’re doing?’ … They were saying, ‘We’re thinking about you,’ and I was like, ‘I’m watching.’
“I never watched the World Series when I played. I didn’t want to watch where people were that I wanted to be. I’ve only really watched two World Series when I played. One was the Yankees and Mets when they were in the World Series, only because Jay Payton was my roommate in college and one of my dearest friends was playing in the World Series. … And then in ‘04, because I knew they were going to do it. … I realize here that the World Series is bigger than you. It’s about these people and these fans and the tradition here and what it meant. I’m glad, in ‘04, that it was finally accomplished, because these great fans deserved it.”
Martinez on the atmosphere at Fenway Park: “I’ll tell you what, the aspects of Fenway Park and the tradition, the uniqueness that we have here in Fenway, I can’t see it happening in any other place. … You can feel the heat from the bodies from the field. It’s so close. … This is the closest to a winter league game that you can probably feel. I always describe Fenway as the only place where you can feel like you’re pitching winter ball, because it’s loud, you have people right on top of you. … It’s a unique feeling that you get at Fenway.”
Garciaparra on Martinez’s tenure in Boston: “Watching him, there were times where I found myself like the fans, in awe of what he’s doing. So much so that when they finally hit the ball off him, I would be like the fans and go, ‘Ugh.’ I would do so the same thing and then I’d realize, ‘Oh, they hit it at me and I need to got to go make the play.’ … There were so many moments that made you feel that way and I’m grateful that I’m his teammate and friend.”
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