Hall of Fame
This weekend, Pedro Martinez will be the 13th former Mets player to be inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame (joining his former Mets teammate Tom Glavine). As of today, The Franchise, George Thomas Seaver, is the only player inducted as a Met into the Hall of Fame.
We were all lucky to see Pedro pitch. He was a combination of dominant power pitcher and crafty veteran while on the mound. As I stated in this blog before, Pedro’s 1999 All Star Game start was one of the most memorable All Star Game moments ever. However, that 1999 All Star Game appearance is just a minor footnote to Pedro’s 1999 season where he went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and a 0.923 WHIP. Naturally, he won the MVP and finished second in the MVP voting (he was robbed). How do you top that? With his 2000 Cy Young season where Pedro went 18-6 with a 1.74 ERA and a 0.737 WHIP. These are insane numbers that compare with the all-time greats.
My Dad always tells me about Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, and Bob Gibson. He waxes poetic that if Seaver played for good team his entire career, he would have won 30 games per year (he’s not wrong). He tells me about the year Steve Carlton won 27 games on a Phillies’ team that only won 59 games. He told me about Bob Gibson’s 1968 season when he went 22-9 with a 1.12 ERA. For my money Pedro was better in 1999 and 2000 than Bob Gibson was in 1968. The reason is Pedro did it in the steroids era while Gibson did it in the Year of the Pitcher. People talk about Sandy Koufax’s stretch with the Dodgers? Pedro was better.
Luckily, Pedro became a Met after already cementing his status as a Hall of Famer. Before joining the Mets, he was a three time Cy Young Award winner with six All Star appearances and a 182-84 record and a 2.81 ERA. In 2005, he came to the Mets. His arrival brought energy and legitimacy to a franchise that was on the decline since the 2000 World Series. I remember when the Mets schedule came out, I looked for what would be his first start at Shea. I remember getting seats in the first row of the upper deck so my brother and I could hang Ks for every Pedro strikeout. I still remember he had seven that day. I still have my Vote for Pedro Mets t-shirt.
It was the first time the Mets had an ace since they traded David Cone to the Blue Jays 13 years before. There is always a different atmosphere in the ballpark when an ace is on the mound. From the first to the last pitch, you are on the edge of the seat. Pedro was that pitcher in 2005. Every fifth day, you felt the Mets had a chance to win. He was electric. Back in a time when this really mattered to Mets fans, he came ever so close to getting a no-hitter. He finished with a 15-8 record with a 2.82 ERA. He led the league with a 0.949 WHIP, and he was an All Star. As we know Pedro’s last great season was in 2005, and we now know why. He still did have his moments because remember Pedro was a great pitcher and a proud man. He made the All Star team in 2006 and he had one last great start in the 2009 World Series.
Overall, what I admired most about Pedro was that he got the best out of his ability and he kept fighting to be the best. And you know what? For a stretch, he was the best pitcher on the planet. That’s impressive because he pitched at the same time as all-time greats like Randy Johnson (who is also being inducted this weekend) and Greg Maddux. So for all of that, I want to say “Thank you Pedro Martinez.” You were a joy to watch as a baseball player, and you gave it your all when you were with the Mets. When my son is older and he asks me about players I saw play, I will mention you in the same vein as my father told me about Seaver, Carlton and Gibson. That is the best tribute I can give to you. Enjoy your well-deserved honor this weekend. You earned it.
I love Gary Carter. I have since my father taught me how to catch in our backyard. When I became the catcher for my Little League team, I wanted the number 8 because that was Gary Carter’s number. I was elated when I received it. During MLB’s Franchise Four promotion, I realize how upset I’ve been about how Gary Carter’s been treated since his retirement. I can only hope that times will improve for him since he should be enjoying his retirement. He should be enjoying his days off, and maybe only worrying about whether to involve Estate Planning Lawyers if he knows what he wants to do with his estate planning documents, and that’s it. His retirement should not be something that stresses him out, instead, it should just be a peaceful and easy-going thing.
Everyone who retires does it because it’s the next step in their long life. Retiring in itself is a reward, however, people should make sure that they check out these great tips to ensure an enjoyable retirement. Otherwise, it would be pretty pointless to just sit and do nothing. But going back to Gary Carter though, he deserves to be treated so much better in his retirement.
First, Gary Carter had to wait for six Hall of Fame votes before being elected. Carlton Fisk went in on his second try despite having inferior stats. Next, when he was finally elected, he was not permitted to wear a Mets cap, as he wished, rather he was inducted as an Expos (as he probably should have been). Fisk went in as a Red Sox and Reggie Jackson went in as a Yankee, but the Hall of Fame drew the line with Gary Carter.
The same year as his Hall of Fame induction, the Expos dutifully retired his number 8. The Washington Nationals have seen it fit to unretire all of the Expos’ numbers, including Gary Carter’s number 8. The players who have worn it since: Marlon Anderson, Chris Snelling, Aaron Boone, Jorge Padilla, and Danny Espinosa.
That’s a shame. I know Mets fans will always remember him. I know when he’s old enough, I’ll tell my son about Game 6, and how he refused to make the last out of the World Series sparking an improbable rally. That’s how I’ll honor him and his memory.
Montreal still honors him with a banner in the Bell Centre (which is also where Youppi resides). That’s nice, but it’s not enough. With Commissioner Rob Manfred talking about possible expansion, MLB needs to consider Montreal to give the Expos, their fans, and former players their identity back.
Gary Carter, je me souviens.