Pedro Martinez Discusses Steroid Era and Hall of Fame

Pedro Martinez reflected on the Steroid Era and explained why it's difficult for Dominican players to reach the Hall of Fame

Tiki and Tierney
October 30, 2018 - 10:00 am
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The Steroid Era makes a lot of baseball players look better than they actually were. For Pedro Martinez, it’s just the opposite. His numbers, while extraordinary, don’t fully capture just how dominant he has.

Martinez went 219-100 with a 2.93 ERA in 18 seasons. He was an eight-time All-Star, a three-time Cy Young winner, and a World Series champion. 

That’s phenomenal, of course, but from 1997 to 2003, Martinez was downright filthy, leading the league in ERA five times. The highest of those five ERAs? 2.26.

Unreal.

“I take pride in saying that I did it clean, that I did it the right way,” Martinez said on Tiki and Tierney. “It makes me feel even greater to know that I competed against guys that probably took the short path towards having success. But at the same time, I’m going to tell you from my own competitive spirit that I have: I wouldn’t want it any other way. That’s what I wanted. I wanted to face the best. I wanted to face the toughest guy. I lived up to the challenge. Now that I know that most of those guys were tainted makes me feel even better about the way I conducted my career and the way I competed. 

“I’m proud – a little bit embarrassed on behalf of my era – because I wish everybody tried as hard as I did,” Martinez continued. “But not everybody wants to go through the struggles that you have to go through to get better. I’m extremely proud to have done it the right way. I can look up into the faces of my kids and say I did it the right way. How they did it and what they did, it doesn’t matter to me. I wanted to really face the biggest challenge out there, and I did. I’m glad I’m here today.”

Here, of course, is Cooperstown. Martinez, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, was inducted in 2015. Martinez joined Juan Marichal as just the second Dominican player to ever reach the Hall, and this weekend Vladimir Guerrero will become the third – and the first position player.

At least for now.

“I’m extremely proud to not only have Vlad coming over, but I’m looking forward to the next generation of players like Big Papi and those guys,” Martinez said. “Beltre, Pujols – all those guys are going to make it eventually to the Hall of Fame. I’me extremely proud to know that we finally got a position player. He’s the first one to ever make it.”

The Dominican has produced great baseball talent but fewer Hall of Famers than one might assume. Martinez, 46, explained why.

“Let me tell you a little secret,” “he said. “For Dominicans, the reason you don’t see that many players in the Hall of Fame, it’s because we have a hard time keeping it together for a long time when it comes to playing in the big leagues. Back in those days, you came over at an age that probably didn’t allow you to complete the numbers that you need to be in the Hall of Fame. But also, I think the Dominicans have a real, real hard time adopting to the culture and staying out of trouble. There’s such strict rules and such a strict discipline. It’s really hard coming from a different country and adjusting to everything and at the same time go out there and compete at the highest level that you can ever compete in baseball. 

“I’m not making up excuses for the Dominican,” Martinez continued. “But it’s really difficult to do all those things. Adjusting to the culture, not having anything and all of a sudden finding yourself with a big paycheck – it’s a big adjustment. Most of us run into mistakes and run into trouble, or we don’t adjust well to the discipline that baseball has to offer, and most of the time, we fall short. I hope that with the next generation of players we start to see more Dominicans going into the Hall of Fame.”