I love Pedro Martinez. He is among my favorite baseball players ever, and is one of the athletes who got me interested in sports as a kid. When he was voted into the Hall of Fame in January, I was excited that one of my heroes was elected to th greatest honor possible to reach in baseball. When it was announced that Pedro was releasing an autobiography, I was thrilled!
While I don’t read a ton of fiction books, I do read a good number of histories and biographies. I find these sorts of stories a bit more compelling than fiction books because they actually happened and can be hard to believe.
Such is the case with Pedro’s story. His rise from poverty in the Dominican Republic to stardom and wealth in the best baseball league in the world is pretty remarkable, especially when you consider that he is small for a major league pitcher: 5’11″(but probably a little smaller than his official height). He was slighted at every turn and was not expected to do anything in the hotbed of Dominican baseball.
How did he make it out? Simple: He was mad as hell!
No, I mean that quite literally. Pedro Martinez pitched mad his entire career. He was unafraid of hitting his opponents, and with a few exceptions, fearless on the hill. And he held a vendetta against the coaches who slighted him in the Dodger’s baseball academy in the Dominican, the coaches with the Dodgers who knew him as merely Ramon Martinez’s younger and smaller brother. He held a grudge against the Boston media for being intrusive and asking hilariously dumb questions. He attacked every batter as if they were a mortal enemy of his.
I picked up the book knowing that Pedro had a competitive fire that defined him, but I had no idea the extent to which he was fueled by rage. I knew that he was a talker. I knew he could be zany and had some moments that gave reason to legitimately question his sanity, and I knew that he was a fun guy for teammates most of the time.
I didn’t realize that he was so completely fueled by insecurity and just being pissed off. I now have a whole new level of appreciation for relentless competitive drive and animosity towards the media, opponents, management, etc.. He channeled it so effectively and turned himself into one of the best pitchers in the history of baseball. He deserves to have his number retired by the Red Sox, and he is rightfully honored as one of the greats of the age.
Pedro’s story is a remarkable one that people with an interest in sports should read. Even non sports people would appreciate the anger with which he pitched and the passion with which he continues to live. It’s an approach I want to implement, to a certain extent, into my own life.