Pedro on the '99 ALDS: 'I've never been in more pain'

donutogre

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Just saw this on MLB.com and figured it would be of interest to, well, just about everyone. It's an oral history with quotes from all sorts of people involved in the game, including Pedro, Dave Roberts, Dan Duquette, Tek, JIM THOME and more.


Martinez: When I started seeing the game going in such a wild way, I just said, "I need to do something, and I need to do it now." I guess, between adrenaline, the little medications I took and the situation, it just made me forget.
Varitek: He was going to pitch backwards. Threw a lot of breaking balls, a lot of changeups and used his cutter predominantly and kind of hid his fastball a little bit. To be able to morph yourself on the fly like that, and against historically one of the best lineups out there, is pretty amazing.
 

Montana Fan

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That was a great read and memory. When Duquette traded for Pedro in '97, the small contingent on DTFC went wild. To a person we were stoked. Mike Stanley for Tony Armas Jr., indeed.
 

mikeysox

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Just saw this on MLB.com and figured it would be of interest to, well, just about everyone. It's an oral history with quotes from all sorts of people involved in the game, including Pedro, Dave Roberts, Dan Duquette, Tek, JIM THOME and more.

Easily one of my favorite games of all time. Watched it at the Baseball Tavern just around the corner from Fenway (RIP).
Good lord I loved Pedro so much.
 

brs3

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I'm so happy I saw and lived during Pedro's peak. I understand all those old people who spoke about greats of yesteryear. Pedro is one of those.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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A tremendous read and vivid memories of one of my favorite games ever. He was a lion that night.

O’Leary is right- he isn’t remembered well enough. Solid career in Boston and he was otherworldly in that series.

you forget how loaded that Indians team was. They could (should) have been a dynasty. Pitching was never quite good enough but holy crap could they kill the ball and they had a couple of all-time defensive greats too.

Ths is for posting this.
 

brs3

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I haven't listened to the intro sounds of Sox radio games in a long time, but for the longest time the "TROY O'LEARY!!!" radio call from his grand slams was included in the opening music/calls, and it was glorious. That team would've had a snowball's chance if replay existed vs. the Yanks.
 

GoJeff!

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I made a spur of the moment decision to fly to Cleveland, scalp tickets and see that game.

It was the best game I’ve ever been to.
 

The Allented Mr Ripley

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The greatest individual sporting achievement I've ever seen as it unfolded: a clearly ailing Pedro coming in from the bullpen in the bottom of the 4th to pitch 6 innings of no-hit ball, slamming the door on the Indians in Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS. With a fraction of his stuff against a killer lineup; he could normally flirt with 100 mph, that night he was throwing 88 - 89. Through sheer will and artistry and guile. Every pitch he hurled was like a knife in his back.

And they still couldn't touch him.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X0EpWLPupI
 

jose melendez

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That Cleveland team scored 1009 runs.

Our team was basically Nomar, Pedro and filler. (Daubach, O'Leary, Nixon and Saberhagen were decent).
 

Soxfan in Fla

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We are all fortunate to have watched Pedro pitch his prime years in Boston. What he did that night still seems damn near impossible. Cleveland was scared shitless of him and that probably played into his success that night a little. An amazing performance.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Fond memories of that game. I was in college, in Ohio, so somewhat in Indian territory (geographically closer to Cincinnati so loyalties were split). I was an RA and we had a building wide staff team-building outing at a bar uptown, so that's where I watched the game surrounded by my Indian fan co-workers. The first three innings were wild with the back and forth (runs and trash talk), but as soon as Pedro emerged from the pen, even though the game was tied, I declared it over. The Indians had no one on staff that I didn't feel confident the Sox could scrape one run off of, and I knew that's all Pedro would need. We were all poor college kids, so all we had to bet was trading on-duty shifts. I didn't have to work for a month and a half thanks to Pedro.
 

donutogre

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Loving all the responses to this. Obviously, 20 years is a good occasion to mark this game, but I always enjoy how we will take literally any excuse to have a Pedro love-fest thread.
 

kelpapa

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Rewatching the game now, I didn't realize Jim Joyce was the ump that corrected the Fryman homer.
 

Skiponzo

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This game was one of those otherworldly experiences you occasionally get from sporting events. I remember at one point looking at the scoreboard and thinking "Damn, he hasn't even given up a hit". I sound old saying this but I tell my kids all the time that they missed the best pitcher to ever throw a ball. Pedro starts were events so much so that even my baseball hating wife would know when his turn was up.

I describe Pedro's dominance to those that never saw him like this: "If there were one game to save the world, I want Pedro Martinez starting."
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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The last paragraph; interesting choice; not sure how many players would make it these days:

But Martinez doesn’t flinch when asked if Game 5 in Cleveland had an impact on the rest of his career.
Martinez: It did. That was the game that actually developed the rest of the shoulder problems for me. That’s what got the 98 mph lowered to 90-whatever, whatever I was. That injury actually took a big chunk of my career. I did more damage to my shoulder because of that. I don’t regret it at all. I had a beautiful career and I was able to come back. I don’t regret it one bit. I’m extremely proud to have done it. I’d never suggest it to anybody with a bright future, but I’m so proud to have done it.​


"
 
With all due respect to 2004, this game was the most important, significant, impressive, etc. game that I have ever seen. Pedro was simply amazing.

Coming off multiple ALDS losses to the Indians and feeling like it was going to happen yet again. The feeling when he walked out of the bullpen in the middle of a slugfest, and just shut everything down. Lofton's dive to first tearing up his shoulder. Knowing what we know about Pedro now.

It was simply unbelievable.
 

joe dokes

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I have never seen a team of professional athletes, certainly not in baseball, look more instantly deflated than when Cleveland saw Pedro enter that game.
In a similar vein . . . . my wife, who never really paid much attention to this stuff, saw a camera shot of Pedro's face from behind home plate after a hitter or two and said, "wow, I think the Indians are fucked."
 

HriniakPosterChild

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This says it all.

Martinez: I’ve never been in more pain once the plane took off. That’s when I knew I was really, really bad. I thought someone was stabbing me in the back. I got really scared, it was like having a knife going slowly through my back. I started screaming. The entire plane got quiet. The medical staff had to jump on me. At that time, the medicine, probably the two Aleves, went away.
 

lexrageorge

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I remember Pedro getting hurt in Game 1 in 1999 ALDS and thinking "Oh no, not again". I still wonder if there is an alternate reality where Pedro does not get hurt, wins his Game 1 start, and is then lined up to pitch Game 1 of the ALCS in Yankee Stadium. That Yankees team was a juggernaut, but the one thing they were truly worried about was having to face Pedro twice in a playoff series. He was just not hittable at that time.
 

HriniakPosterChild

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I was at Opening Day the next April in Safeco. M’s / Red Sox. Pedro struck out 11 in 7IP and got the win. 2 hits and 2 walks. He still looked really good.

 
I describe Pedro's dominance to those that never saw him like this: "If there were one game to save the world, I want Pedro Martinez starting."
Seriously. The stats don't do him justice - watching him day after day, there was just nothing like it.

I always enjoy how we will take literally any excuse to have a Pedro love-fest thread.
Damn straight.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I was at Opening Day the next April in Safeco. M’s / Red Sox. Pedro struck out 11 in 7IP and got the win. 2 hits and 2 walks. He still looked really good.

Considering how much pain he says he was in after Game 5, and how he says that it was the beginning of all his shoulder problems and loss of velocity, it's really kind of incredible how good he was in 2000. Lower ERA (though higher FIP), lower WHIP, more innings, more complete games, more shut outs, higher ERA+, another unanimous Cy Young. There appeared to be little to no ill-effects from the previous post-season. It wasn't until 2001 where his shoulder issues really flared up and visibly affected him with a DL trip and noticeable lose of velocity.
 

brandonchristensen

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One thing I definitely notice when watching old Pedro stuff is how wide the strike zone was. With the K zone stuff of today, I am curious how many of those called third strikes he would get now.
 
One thing I definitely notice when watching old Pedro stuff is how wide the strike zone was. With the K zone stuff of today, I am curious how many of those called third strikes he would get now.
You don't think that Pedro would have adjusted to wherever the pitches were being called?
His dominance wasn't a matter of getting balls called strikes. It was of complete control and mastery.
 

brandonchristensen

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You don't think that Pedro would have adjusted to wherever the pitches were being called?
His dominance wasn't a matter of getting balls called strikes. It was of complete control and mastery.
I’m sure, but the strike zone is shockingly tighter these days.
 

bob burda

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I’m sure, but the strike zone is shockingly tighter these days.
It's also higher and lower - the high strike was not called back then, and Pedro's curves and change-ups that would break the plane of the zone and be caught below the catcher's knee's would often be strikes now. It is an interesting question whether he would benefit from the old "flatter but wider" zone vs. this new one that is taller and thinner. I'm with the group that thinks Pedro would carve you up no matter what zone he worked with, as long as you give him fairly equivalent square inches either way.
 

Spacemans Bong

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Considering how much pain he says he was in after Game 5, and how he says that it was the beginning of all his shoulder problems and loss of velocity, it's really kind of incredible how good he was in 2000. Lower ERA (though higher FIP), lower WHIP, more innings, more complete games, more shut outs, higher ERA+, another unanimous Cy Young. There appeared to be little to no ill-effects from the previous post-season. It wasn't until 2001 where his shoulder issues really flared up and visibly affected him with a DL trip and noticeable lose of velocity.
He'd definitely lost velocity after 1999. In my mind, he sat consistently at 95 in 1999, and about 92 in 2000. Occasionally he'd push it up to 95, but only occasionally.

In 2004, his decline from God-like to a merely very good 125 ERA+ was due to missing location and his breaking ball losing some sharpness. Even in the 2003 playoffs, he threw this hard curve he just didn't have in subsequent years.

And go on, tell everybody his 1999 FIP. Or maybe I will.

1.39
 

mwonow

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We can all remember the "curse" anxiety, but game 3 in St Louis was as confident as I ever was pregame at any time as a fan. I just knew Pedro would deliver that night. I was pretty sure it was his last game with the Sox, and he delivered.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEYTwfJNqOI
Thanks for posting the highlights. I ended up watching most of the 99 game (great for me, not so great for my clients!) when this thread launched.

In both cases, I ended up laughing out loud at just how dominant Pedro was.

Also, in the highlights - Papi was pretty good in the field, eh? A bullet to catch Suppan wandering, plus a nifty scoop.
 

Archer1979

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Really? He played in Cleveland about as long as he played in Boston.

I didn't really watch him play in Cleveland unless they were playing the Sox. Plus, he wasn't really Manny Being Manny at that point... at least not without the Red Sox style points.
 

TFisNEXT

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It's also higher and lower - the high strike was not called back then, and Pedro's curves and change-ups that would break the plane of the zone and be caught below the catcher's knee's would often be strikes now. It is an interesting question whether he would benefit from the old "flatter but wider" zone vs. this new one that is taller and thinner. I'm with the group that thinks Pedro would carve you up no matter what zone he worked with, as long as you give him fairly equivalent square inches either way.
Agreed. There is zero doubt Pedro would have brutalized his opponents with a higher strike zone if he had to use that at the expense of a bit on the edges. He probably would have used the high cheese/changeup sequence a bit more which was already probably his best pitch (the changeup) with a taller strike zone.
 

Patek's 3 Dingers

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Before the series started, I remember reading that the three most important strategies for the Indians were to not pitch to Nomar, not pitch to Molar and not pitch to Nomar. In that game, twice intionately walking Nomar resulted in 7 RBI for O'leary.
 

Plympton91

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It's also higher and lower - the high strike was not called back then, and Pedro's curves and change-ups that would break the plane of the zone and be caught below the catcher's knee's would often be strikes now. It is an interesting question whether he would benefit from the old "flatter but wider" zone vs. this new one that is taller and thinner. I'm with the group that thinks Pedro would carve you up no matter what zone he worked with, as long as you give him fairly equivalent square inches either way.
Man, when Pedro was at the top of his game from 1997-2000, and getting the top of the zone the way they call it now. Hoo boy. That would have been fun to watch. Total dominance.
 

Plympton91

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Thanks for posting the highlights. I ended up watching most of the 99 game (great for me, not so great for my clients!) when this thread launched.

In both cases, I ended up laughing out loud at just how dominant Pedro was.

Also, in the highlights - Papi was pretty good in the field, eh? A bullet to catch Suppan wandering, plus a nifty scoop.
Yeah, I really hope that Ortiz doesn’t end up having to wait a while to get into the Hall because of the DH thing. There’s no question he could have played 1B more than he did, at least until the heel became an issue in his mid 30s. There was just never a need for him to do it—Millar was better at 1B than he would have been in LF, and Youkilis was near gold glove caliber there.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Yeah, I really hope that Ortiz doesn’t end up having to wait a while to get into the Hall because of the DH thing. There’s no question he could have played 1B more than he did, at least until the heel became an issue in his mid 30s. There was just never a need for him to do it—Millar was better at 1B than he would have been in LF, and Youkilis was near gold glove caliber there.
Papi was a better thrower than Millar was...looking at that clip from the 2004 WS, Papi takes a few steps directly towards 3rd base like he's supposed to and fires that laser. Millar had a terrible, scattershot arm; in my mind there's little doubt he throws that ball into the dugout.
 

BaseballJones

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DeGrom won his second straight Cy. Excellent numbers. As always, these things bring me back to Pedro Martinez. Because Pedro was the greatest ever.

So here's just one little snippet of Pedro's utter dominance. In 2000, he won the CYA with the following numbers:

18-6, 1.74 era, 291 era+, 0.74 whip, 11.8 k/9

Looking at the top 7 AL CYA vote getters, here were their numbers (forget W/L):

Pedro: 1.74 era, 291 era+, 0.74 whip, 11.8 k/9
Hudson: 4.14 era, 113 era+, 1.24 whip,
Wells: 4.11 era, 123 era+, 1.29 whip,
Pettitte: 4.35 era, 111 era+, 1.46 whip,
Jones: 3.52 era, 134 era+, 1.44 whip, (closer)
Clemens: 3.70 era, 131 era+, 1.31 whip, 8.3 k/9
Mussina: 3.79 era, 125 era+, 1.19 whip, 8.0 k/9