ON THIS DATE
(September 21, 1999) ...
It didn't matter to him the size of the man, or the magnitude of his
accomplishments. From the moment he decided to commit six years of
his life to the Red Sox, Pedro Martinez refused to be cast in the
shadow of Roger Clemens. His enormous Dominican pride, and his belief
in his own singular skills, would not allow it.
before a crowd of 27,799 at Fenway Park that was on its feet chanting "MVP" for
the slender Red Sox ace, Martinez erased Clemens's name from another line in the
Red Sox record book, and this one was no mere footnote to history. With 12
strikeouts in a 3-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, Martinez shattered
Clemens's season record for strikeouts by a Red Sox pitcher while joining Randy
Johnson as the only pitchers in big- league history to strike out 300 in both
broke Clemens's record of 291, set in 1988, by striking out shortstop Tony
Batista for the first out of the third inning. Martinez used the same ball for
the next hitter, Willis Otanez, and when Otanez fouled a pitch into the rooftop
box seats, club publicist Kevin Shea retrieved the ball from a spectator after
doing some quick negotiating.
struck out Homer Bush to start the eighth for his 299th strikeout, then walked
the next batter, Shannon Stewart, and hit Brian McRae in the knee to put two
runners on. Shawn Green then hit a one-hop shot to the right of second baseman
Jose Offerman, who made a difficult stop and backhanded flip to Nomar
Garciaparra for an inning-ending double play.
Beck warming up in the bullpen and the crowd calling for Martinez, the Sox ace
emerged for the ninth inning and struck out Carlos Delgado, the cleanup hitter,
on three pitches for No. 300. That ball Martinez rolled into the Red Sox dugout.
(22-4) lowered his major league-leading ERA to 2.11 with his 11th career
shutout, and his 300 strikeouts are 116 more than the runner-up in the American
League, Anaheim's Chuck Finley. At least as astonishing is this: Martinez, who
walked two last night, has just 37 bases on balls in 204 1/3 innings. His
strikeout- to-walk differential of 263 is believed to be the largest since Hall
of Famer Sandy Koufax struck out 382 while walking 71 in 1965, a differential of
has 18 games this season in which he has struck out 10 or more. He's done it 53
times in his career, 26 times for the Sox. When the Jays made it through the
sixth without a whiff, it was only the second time in 55 innings that Martinez
had failed to register a strikeout. He threw 120 pitches, 81 for strikes.