|Red Sox put on show to celebrate David Ortiz’s 500th home run||09.21.15 at 7:53 pm ET|
“This is home. This is home. I wish I could’ve got it done here but it’s not that simple, that’s not how it works,” Ortiz said. “But I’m happy to be there, happy to be home and that the Red Sox having a ceremony for me.”
And when it rolled around, it didn’t appear he was disappointed in the aforementioned ceremony.
The first image of the celebration came with children wearing red shirts forming the number “500” in center field.
The 27th member of Major League Baseball‘s 500-home run club was presented with a variety of gifts, including custom-made boots from L.L. Bean (presented by third base coach Brian Butterfield, a Maine native), and a plaque commemorating his 500 homer, handed over by principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president/CEO Larry Lucchino.
The big gift, however, was driven in from center field — a fully-loaded luxury SUV. Adding to the surprise was the emergence of four of Ortiz’s former Red Sox teammates — Pedro Martinez, Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek — from the car.
Varitek took the microphone to help introduce Ortiz, who let Martinez offer a spanish tribute before launching into his speech.
“I’m not much of a talker. Yeah, right,” Ortiz joked, leading off his minute-long speech.
“This organization gave me the opportunity to regroup, to build up my career,” he continued. “Definitely without you guys, the best fans in baseball, I would never get to this number.”
He finished his address by saying, “Let’s keep on hitting bombs.”
|Pedro Martinez wants to be remembered as happy, grateful, a sign of hope||07.28.15 at 11:21 pm ET|
As the Red Sox retired No. 45 to the right field wall, Martinez reflected on all he had accomplished during his time in Boston as well as how he reached this point in his career.
It was all he could do, he said.
Prior to the game, the Sox held a ceremony for the recent Hall of Famer, bringing out former members of the team like Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, Dennis Eckersley, Curt Schilling, Jason Varitek and others.
“All I could do was reflect when I saw everybody there,” Martinez said. “And seeing the franchise standing right there, all the players … reflect, reflect and reflect and maybe one of these days I will wake up and say, ‘Hey, my god, this just happened.’ But right now I’m like in a bubble, I’m flying around. I haven’t set my feet down yet.”
He also emphasized just how much all of his accolades have affected him, and how he’s still strapped for words when he thinks about how he was the one on the receiving end of them.
“It seems like destiny had me linked in a very different way to everything,” he said. “The Red Sox, the seasons, the championships, ’04, 86 years and then I’m part of the All-Century team for the Red Sox, and I see so many great players that passed by that couldn’t pull it off. I was part of the ones that pulled it off, and not only that, I’m the first pitcher that goes into that exclusive wall of numbers retired.
“It’s a unique opportunity to feel this, and I don’t know how to describe it. I get confused in the middle of trying to explain why, why me? How? And I’m trying to enjoy it as well, and I’m trying to have a great time and soaking up as much as I can, but I’m still floating from being in the Hall of Fame, from being in the Red Sox Hall of Fame, Latino Hall of Fame, so many things that happened that I can only say I’m fortunate. I’m so fortunate to have had the opportunity to represent so many different things.”
Joe Kelly’s first inning Monday night was bad — allowing four runs — putting the Red Sox in a quick 4-0 hole.
But, Tuesday night was even worse as Wade Miley allowed five first-inning runs, digging the Red Sox a hole they couldn’t dig out of in their 9-4 loss to the White Sox on the night Pedro Martinez‘s number was retired before the game.
Martinez wouldn’t have liked what he saw, as after striking out the leadoff batter, Miley allowed the next five batters to reach, all of which scored, as the White Sox took a 5-0 lead before the Red Sox even stepped to the plate.
The big blow came on a two-run Geovany Soto double, which scored two runs. Emilio Bonifacio followed with an RBI double for the fifth run of the inning.
“Not a lot of command in the first inning,” Miley said. “A lot of fastballs in the middle of the plate and not a good effort me making adjustments in that first inning. I probably had a couple opportunities to minimize the damage and didn’t do a very good job of it.”
Miley settled down, firing four scoreless innings until a freak play in the sixth ended his night.
With two outs in the sixth inning and the White Sox carrying a 5-2 lead, Jose Abreu launched a first-pitch fastball to deep right-center field. Mookie Betts raced back to catch the fly ball, but after two steps hurdled his body over the right field fence.
The outfielder tumbled into the Red Sox bullpen, landing on his head and neck. While the ball trickled out of Betts’ glove after landing on the ground, Abreu was initially called out. But after an umpires’ review, the call was over-turned, giving the White Sox slugger his 16th homer and the visitors’ a two-run lead.
Making matters worse, Betts was forced to leave the game and was tested for a possible concussion.
Miley went 5 2/3 innings allowing seven runs on 10 hits, while walking three and striking out five.
The Red Sox cut into the White Sox’ lead in the second inning on a Pablo Sandoval two-run homer the other way. That was all the Sox could get against White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija until a meaningless two runs in the ninth.
The right-hander went 8+ innings allowing four runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out three.
In relief of Miley, Justin Masterson allowed a towering homer to Soto in the seventh and another run in the eighth. He allowed two runs over his 3 1/3 innings of relief.
The Red Sox have now dropped two straight games and are 2-9 since the All-Star break.
Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ win:
In just the second year of his major league career, the catcher was behind the plate for Martinez’s second start as a member of the Red Sox against the Angels on April 6, 1998. When he pitched in Game 3 of the 2004 World Series for his final Red Sox start, Varitek caught that too.
“You look back and it’s just an opportunity,” he said. “I was so young … it was the most memorable moments that I had to do behind the plate. You don’t appreciate how good someone is until you play your entire career and you don’t really see it again.”
“He had the physical tools with an exploding fastball, location of it, the ability to change speeds, a devastating changeup developed into the same curveball,” Varitek added. “He had plus pitches across the board, but that only goes so far unless you have the competitiveness and the heart that he had when he pitched, and it made him who he was.”
He was emotional when Martinez gave his Hall of Fame induction speech Sunday, sitting in front of the television for three and a half hours so he wouldn’t miss a thing.
“You just kept waiting, waiting, waiting, and he took the stage, but it showed what heart he has for both the United States and for his home, the Dominican …” Varitek said. “I’m just so proud and happy for him. It’s his moment, his time and so well deserved.”
There isn’t a whole lot of space on the right field deck for very many retired numbers, and that, to Varitek, speaks volumes of just how big it really is to have No. 45 go up there Tuesday night.
“It’s huge,” he said. “I mean you look on that board, and there’s only a few, there’s only room for a few [numbers], and deservedly so that Pedro’s is going to go right up there with them.”
|David Ortiz drives in 7, thanks Pedro Martinez: ‘The most unbelievable human being I have been around’||07.27.15 at 12:53 am ET|
Hours after the Red Sox pitching great was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, Ortiz, inspired by a 30-minute bilingual speech from Martinez, drove in a career-high seven runs, belted two three-run homers, scored three runs and went 4-for-5 in an 11-1 pasting of the Tigers at Fenway Park.
“I was very emotional today looking at the induction,” Ortiz said. “It’s something that was remarkable. You never know what is going to pop out. Pedro, I got tears coming out when I saw Pedro talking because I know the man. I know everything that he went through in his career. I used to see that with Pedro after games. He starts telling me stories about things. All the stories he used to tell me made me a better human being, made me a better player. He was good. He wrote a book about it.
“He let it fly during the speech because for a lot of people, I know some of the fans, fans that don’t follow him. They thought that Pedro was as crazy as he looks sometimes when he was pitching. Pedro was the most unbelievable human being I have been around. Pedro is a Christian man. He is a man that thanks God every single minute of his life. Just watching during the speech, there was no doubt about the human being that I know that was out there letting people know how the game gets to be played.”
The magnitude of the night wasn’t lost on Ortiz’s manager, John Farrell.
“Maybe it’s somewhat fitting for Boston baseball today, with Pedro’s induction and then David with the seven RBI’s as he climbs up higher on that [career] list,” Farrell said.
Ortiz has struggled this season, as has the team. But on a night like Sunday, Ortiz could only imagine what Martinez would be doing to him in the dugout.
“He’d be hugging me all night,” Ortiz said. “Pedro, man, I’m telling you, he’s special. He’s somebody I always love having around because Pedro is nothing but positive stuff coming out. I’m pretty sure everybody in New England enjoyed his induction today.”
|David Ortiz: ‘Very emotional’ watching Pedro Martinez Hall of Fame speech||07.26.15 at 7:05 pm ET|
Ortiz, like everyone else in the baseball world, watched Sunday’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
“Pedro was special,” Ortiz said. “Unbelievable competitor. Best stuff I’ve ever seen in a pitcher and the most important thing, an incredible human being. I think a lot of people misjudge Pedro because of the way he was goes about his business. Besides that, Pedro is a very Christian person and person that has much love for everyone. I don’t think you can be around a better human being than what he is. I was watching the whole thing and it was very emotional. It was I was expecting.”
In seven seasons with the Red Sox, Martinez was 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA and a 0.978 WHIP in 201 starts. Ortiz knew even then he would one day be in the Hall of Fame.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “I think Pedro was going to be a Hall of Famer at some point because his numbers, they were ridiculous. … His winning percentage and the way he carried himself was something you only see in Hall of Famers.”
Martinez is only the second player from the Dominican Republic to get inducted into the Hall of Fame. Ortiz, who is also from the Dominican, said it shows just how hard getting into the Hall of Fame is.
“I can remember Victorino asked me, ‘Man, it’s crazy, all the great players we have in the Domincan, there’s only two Hall of Famers.’ I’ve never thought about that,” Ortiz said. “Victorino told me and I told Victorino, ‘That’s how good of a player — you need to achieve some good numbers to get into the Hall of Fame. Getting into the Hall of Fame isn’t an easy thing to do. It doesn’t matter if you were one of the best players of you’re era. You still need to stack up numbers.”
With the Hall of Fame being discussed, Ortiz was asked if he had given thought of himself getting in as a designated hitter. As expected, Ortiz didn’t have much to say.
“I don’t know. I don’t vote,” he said.
From 1998 to 2004, Martinez pitched for the Red Sox. In 1999 and 2000, Martinez authored two of the greatest seasons in baseball history on the mound, going 41-10 with a 1.90 ERA and a 0.830 WHIP in 58 starts. He won back-to-back Cy Young awards.
In seven seasons with the Red Sox, he was 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA and a 0.978 WHIP in 201 starts.
“Boston, I don’t have enough words to say how much I love you,” Martinez said during a 30-minute speech that began in English and ended in Spanish, as he addressed a huge Dominican audience that showed up with flags and shirts to honor one of the country’s greatest athletes.
“It’s great honor to be here. It’s great moment not only for me, for my family, it’s a great moment for the Dominican Republic and Latin America,” he said.
Martinez was as grateful to those writers who voted him in on his first year of eligibility as he was the fans who cheered him on.
“In ’99, I had a little stretch when I felt you didn’t like me, but you made it up and showed me you cared when it really matters,” Martinez quipped with his trademark charismatic smile.
|David Ortiz, Ted Williams, Pedro Martinez, Carl Yastrzemski chosen as ‘Franchise Four’ Red Sox||07.14.15 at 8:43 pm ET|
CINCINNATI — In a vote that is bound to generate plenty of discussion and debate, Major League Baseball released its “Franchise Four” results for all 30 teams Tuesday night before the 86th All-Star Game.
Then, just before the first pitch, MLB announced the results of voting for the greatest four living players. Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax and Johnny Bench were the four chosen and all were recognized in front of the pitcher’s mound.
The four walked out to the center of the diamond arm in arm, as the All-Stars and fans roared at Great American Ball Park. After Aaron, Bench, Koufax and Mays were introduced one by one, Bench, the Reds’ legendary catcher, crouched behind home plate to catch the ceremonial first pitch from Koufax.
The highlight of Franchise Four unveiling was the final club to be revealed: the hometown Cincinnati Reds. Bench, Barry Larkin, Joe Morgan and Pete Rose were all in attendance and introduced by Thom Brennaman, the son of legendary Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman.
Rose, who has been lobbying Commissioner Rob Manfred to be reinstated after being banned from baseball in 1989 for betting on baseball, was the last to come out of the tunnel, and the all-time hits leader received a standing ovation from the Cincinnati crowd.
There were two notable absences Tuesday. When the Yankees were announced, there was no mention of Derek Jeter, as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle were chose the “Franchise Four” for the Bombers. And there was no Barry Bonds, kept out through the vote by the fans.
All-time strikeouts leader Nolan Ryan was the only player to earn a spot on three different clubs: the Angels, Astros and Rangers.
|Roger Clemens on Hall of Fame: ‘I don’t worry about it too much’||07.08.15 at 2:32 am ET|
A familiar face visited the WEEI broadcast booth on Tuesday night — The Rocket.
Roger Clemens was in town to throw batting practice as part of a Jimmy Fund event, and after broadcasting a couple of innings with Joe Castiglione and Dave O’Brien, and before heading out for dinner, he stopped to discuss his feelings for Boston, his thoughts on Pedro Martinez heading into the Hall of Fame, and his own hopes of one day reaching Cooperstown.
Now a special assistant to Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, Clemens was making his first visit to Boston since being inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame last August.
“Boston’s always been great to me, every time I’m here,” he said. “This is where I got started. I have wonderful memories here, you bet.”
With so many former Red Sox stars now regular visitors to the park — including Carlton Fisk, Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, Dennis Eckersley and Tim Wakefield — Clemens was asked if he could envision being a more visible presence locally at some point, too.
“I’m pretty visible everywhere,” he said. “I’m pretty busy. Anytime we come up, we do all kinds of things in the city.”
As for Martinez heading into the Hall of Fame later this month, Clemens praised his one-time rival.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “Pedro had a wonderful career and it’s a well-deserved honor. It was fun doing the little deal that we did here with him a little while back.”
That leads to Clemens’ own Hall candidacy. Because of his links to performance-enhancing drugs, the seven-time Cy Young winner has never received more than 37.6 percent of the vote. He hopes that changes, but realizes it’s out of his hands.
“I don’t worry about it too much,” he said. “I don’t have a say in it. I appreciate [people saying he’s deserving], but it’s not going to change who I am as a person.”
|Red Sox to retire Pedro Martinez’s No. 45 in pregame ceremony July 28 at Fenway Park||06.22.15 at 2:54 pm ET|
The Red Sox announced Monday afternoon they will retire Hall of Fame electee Pedro Martinez‘s No. 45 on July 28 in a pregame ceremony at Fenway Park, two days after he’s inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Martinez will be the ninth player to have their number retired by the Red Sox joining Bobby Doerr, Joe Cronin, Johnny Pesky, Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk and Jackie Robinson, which is retired throughout Major League Baseball.
“To be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame upon his first year of eligibility speaks volumes regarding Pedro’s outstanding career, and is a testament to the respect and admiration so many in baseball have for him,” said Red Sox Principal Owner John W. Henry in a press release.
“And baseball fans admire Pedro for more than his remarkable career accomplishments. His dynamic personality, love for the game, his fearlessness coupled with humility, his passionate, competitive spirit, and his ability to squeeze every ounce of talent out of a small frame were reasons so many fans connected with him. For me personally, he was one of the most incredible pitchers I’ve had the privilege of watching, and one of the reasons our ownership group arrived here in 2002. We very much look forward to honoring Pedro’s remarkable career this July.”
Martinez’s jersey number will be retired exactly seven years after Jim Rice‘s number 14 was retired on July 28, 2008. A three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star, Martinez spent seven seasons with the Red Sox beginning in 1998 and was a key part of the 2004 team that brought a World Series title to Boston for the first time since 1918.
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