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Archive for January 3rd, 2016

GrowingUpPedro640

by Sam Juliano

They beat me.  They’re that good right now.  They’re that hot.  I just tip my hat and call the Yankees my Daddy.           -Pedro Martinez

As a fervent lifetime Yankees fan who plied my craft as a premium cheerleader from the late 60’s till the time Pedro Martinez finished his career with the hated Bosox circa 2003, (I am still a good enough fan today) I remember the ace pitcher for two reasons especially.  Mind you there is plenty to remember this newly minted Hall of Famer by: 3 time winner of the coveted Cy Young award, a World Series ring from 2003, where he won the third game, and the highest winning percentage of any 200 game winner in the modern era, post 1898.  Alas, as is the case with most who seem to remember the dysfunctional moments best, it was Pedro’s actions during the third game of the American League championship series against the Yankees that have stayed with me.  During a dugout clearing melee involving both teams, elderly Yankees skipper Don Zimmer charged Pedro, but found himself thrown to the ground with very little effort.  Naturally, the newspapers had a ball over the incident for weeks afterwards.  Then years later in 2009 when Martinez had signed as a Philadelphia Phillies hurler, he found himself again facing the Yankees in the 2009 World Series.  Seasoned Bronx rooters hadn’t forgotten Pedro’s famed patriarchal homage, and they mercilessly chided him from the stands with derisive chants of “Who’s Your Daddy?”  Gotham newspapers such as the Post and the Daily News joined in the fun splashing those words as banner headlines of the sports section, and Martinez himself found himself again in the reporters’ spotlight.  Yet there is really so much more to the Pedro Martinez story, and in a gorgeously illustrated picture book, Growing Up Pedro, master craftsman Matt Tavaras, who also penned the stirring prose, goes back to the star pitcher’s humble beginnings in the Dominican Republic, chronicling along the way the special relationship Pedro shared with his older brother Ramon, a star pitcher in his own right.  As many fans of the national pastime are well aware, the country, part of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola shared with Haiti, has produced many great players over the years, including the likes of Juan Marichal, Many Ramirez, Sammy Sosa, Robinson Cano, Pedro Guerrero and “Big Papi” David Ortiz.

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