In his upcoming book, Pedro Martinez discusses his scuffle with Don Zimmer during the Yankees-Red Sox brawl in the 2003 ALCS.
Benches cleared in the fourth inning following a high-and-inside pitch from Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens to Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez. Zimmer came running at Martinez, who started the game for Boston and hit New York outfielder Karim Garcia with a pitch earlier in the inning. Martinez grabbed the charging Zimmer by the head and pushed him to the ground.
From an excerpt in Martinez's book:
When 72-year-old Don Zimmer came barreling toward me, I wish I had not grabbed his head and pushed him to the Fenway grass as he stumbled and fell forward. Some days I feel more people remember me as the angry young man who pushed down a defenseless old man than as the pitcher who won three Cy Young Awards and a world title and wound up in the Hall of Fame. In my entire baseball career, my reaction to Zimmer’s charge is my only regret.
Martinez later describes his reaction to Zimmer as "pure instinct" and said the bench coach started to lose his balance when he raised his left arm while approaching Pedro.
"All I did was help him fall faster," writes Martinez.
The full brawl from the game can be seen below.
A longer excerpt from Pedro appears in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated and a version will appear on SI.com on Thursday.
- Molly Geary