Legends On Deck

Baseball Bookshelf Review: “Pedro”

Baseball Bookshelf Review : “Pedro” by Pedro Martinez with Michael Silverman

pedrobookcover“Pedro” is the story in his own words of Pedro Martinez’ ascent from a small town in the Dominican Republic to major league stardom and eventual immortality with his election to the Baseball Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

The first part of the book is fascinating in that it paints a portrait of not just Pedro, but almost any young player coming from a small town in Latin America and the hardships, doubts and fears they face trying to succeed in professional baseball.

The one difference Pedro Martinez had was the fact that his brother Ramon had already gone through the same struggles and was on the verge of a solid major league career by the time Pedro signed.

That both helped and hurt, as it seemed sometimes Pedro was reluctant to ask his brother for help since he was known around both the Dodgers Dominican Academy and Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida during his first spring training as “Ramon’s little brother”.

Things didn’t get off to a good start for the younger Martinez. He clashed with some coaches and several times considered quitting and going home, but persevered. Help from Ramon as well as several Dodgers coaches, most notably Goose Gregson , Guy Conti and Kevin Kennedy put Pedro back on track and he eventually reached the major leagues with the Dodgers.

Los Angeles primarily used him in relief, however and Pedro felt he should be counted on as a starter. He repeatedly told Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda and General Manager Fred Claire that they should make him a starter, and they did. They made him a starter for the Montreal Expos after an off season trade.

Transitioning to the Expos was difficult for Martinez as was learning yet another language, but by the time Expos general manager Dan Duquette eventually moved to the Boston Red Sox and once again traded for Martinez, Pedro grew to love Montreal so much and enjoyed his success there that he didn’t want to leave.

Martinez arrived in Boston in 1998 after what became known as the “tweener” year of 1997. Roger Clemens had become a free agent after the 1996 season and signed with the Toronto Blue Jays and ’97 was a dismal year pre-Pedro.

Boston fans fully embraced Pedro and he became a perennial winner, His years with the Red Sox are fully documented in this enjoyable account of the star righthander’s years in the majors including his late career moves to the Mets and Phillies and eventual hall of fame election. Martinez calls the incident with Yankees coach Don Zimmer the most regrettable of his career, however he never regrets pitching inside, something that has caused him many controversies along the way.

Well written and even enjoyable for a non=baseball fan if only for the portrait of a young person adjusting to life in a new country (In Pedro’s case, two …both the USA and Canada).

A few typos mar the book, especially where Dodgers personnel are concerned (coach Joe Amalfitano is “Joey Malfitano” and Dodgers bullpen coach Mark Cresse has a Y added to the end of his last name) but all in all the stats are accurate and it is a very compelling read. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good summer baseball book.

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