Pedro Martinez: 90% of the batters I hit were intentional
Pitchers like Pedro Martinez don’t miss very often. The former Boston Red Sox ace had as much control as any hurler who has every played the game. That can only mean two things when it comes to hitting a batter with a pitch: either it was a rare miss, or it was intentional.
On Monday, Pedro talked about how pitching inside allowed him to have so much success throughout his remarkable career. He hit batters quite frequently, but Martinez said it was almost always on purpose.
“Probably 90 percent of them,” Martinez said according to the Boston Globe. “But it was always retaliation for my teammates.”
The first part is probably true. The second part? I doubt it. As USA Today pointed out, Martinez finished with the second-lowest walk rate in the American League after his incredible CY Young season in 2000. Despite that and his astonishing 1.74 ERA, Pedro still finished with the second-most hit batsmen in the league.
Martinez, who is now working as a special assistant to the general manager in Boston, would not reveal the names of any batters he hit intentionally despite admitting that he did it so often. When asked if he hit former New York Yankees outfielder Karim Garcia on purpose during the 2003 ALCS, Pedro gave the following response.
“Not on purpose,” he said. “It didn’t even hit him, it hit the bat. Lucky bastard.”
Love him or hate him, Pedro Martinez is one of the greatest pitchers of all time. The fact that he was able to dominate the game during the height of the steroid era sets him apart from all the rest. Did he piss people off by throwing inside and plunking guys on purpose? Certainly, but any pitcher would do the same if they could be that effective.