Red Sox retire Pedro Martinez's No. 45
BOSTON (AP) The script called for Jason Varitek to remain in the dugout until it was time for the ceremonial first pitch.
Pedro Martinez was never one to follow the script.
Calling his former catcher out to join him in the center of the diamond, Martinez took the mound and the microphone one more time for the Red Sox during a pregame ceremony to retire the No. 45 he wore in Boston.
''Hey, this is Pedro,'' the newly minted Hall of Famer told the crowd that interrupted the ceremony and the game to chant his name. ''This is my parade.''
A three-time Cy Young Award winner who anchored the staff that helped the Red Sox win the 2004 World Series, Martinez was honored Tuesday night before Boston's 9-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Two days after Martinez was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, David Ortiz waved his hand and a red curtain was removed to reveal the No. 45 on the Fenway facade.
After posing for a selfie with Ortiz and the plaque on loan from Cooperstown, Martinez thanked those who made his career possible, including Expos manager Felipe Alou and Ralph Avila, the scout who first discovered him. He thanked the clubhouse workers and the Red Sox public relations staff. He thanked his family, he thanked the Red Sox ownership and teammates, and he thanked the fans.
Then he threw a pitch that would have been up and in to a right-handed batter.
''Today, I'm extremely fortunate and humbled that this day is happening,'' he told the sellout crowd before Boston lost for the 11th time in 13 games. ''All I can do is reflect - reflect on all the opportunities, the joy, the great things that baseball somehow made me live.
''I had the unique luxury to live things that I never expected to live.''
With the No. 45 mowed into the outfield and scratched into the mound, the night began with a festive mood that interrupted an otherwise disappointing summer in Boston. The Red Sox opened the night tied for the worst record in the AL, 13 games out in the division, and promptly gave up five runs in the first inning.
But Martinez brightened the mood at Fenway, just like he did when he pitched there from 1998-2004, posting a 117-37 record with a 2.52 ERA. He won consecutive Cy Young Awards and Game 3 of the 2004 Series, one night before the franchise ended an 86-year drought.
The Red Sox showed a video that counted down all the numbers in his career, from his 3,154 strikeouts to his one World Series championship. When it was over, former teammates and Red Sox greats filed out of the dugout: Trot Nixon, Orlando Cabrera and Curt Schilling, then Carlton Fisk, Luis Tiant and Carl Yastrzemski.
Among the gifts from the Red Sox were a Fenway seat and a panel from the manual scoreboard - both No. 45. He also received impressions of his hands cast in bronze and gilded, and a check from Tim Wakefield for his charity.
''It seems like destiny had me linked ... to the Red Sox, the championships, everything,'' Martinez told reporters after - also characteristically - keeping them waiting for about 30 minutes. ''I'm still, like, floating.''
Martinez is the first pitcher to have his number retired by the Red Sox. He joins Bobby Doerr (No. 1), Joe Cronin (4), Johnny Pesky (6), Yastrzemski (8), Ted Williams (9), Jim Rice (14), Fisk (27) and the No. 42 that all of baseball has retired for Jackie Robinson.