By JOHN DORN
The writing has been on the wall, with no Boston Red Sox player wearing the number in more than a decade, but team will make it official next month. Pedro Martinez will have his No. 45 retired at Fenway Park on July 28, according to NESN.
The organization released a statement Monday announcing the honor, which will come just days after Martinez will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The 43-year-old was a first-ballot selection for Cooperstown last winter.
"To be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame upon his first year of eligibility speaks volumes regarding Pedro's outstanding career, and is a testament to the respect and admiration so many in baseball have for him," Red Sox principal owner John Henry said in the statement.
The team is apparently waiving its previous rule, deeming it mandatory that players spend at least 10 seasons in Boston in order for his number to be retired. That provision appeared on the team's website up until last winter, but has since been removed.
Pedro Martinez PointAfter
Pedro spent seven seasons in a Red Sox uniform from 1997 through 2004, when Boston won its first championship in more than 80 years. For the Sox, he went 117-37 while posting a 2.52 ERA and striking out 1,683 batters. He won back-to-back Cy Young awards in 1999 and 2000, leading the league in strikeouts both years and posting a miniscule 1.74 ERA in '99. He remains one of the last pitchers to post 300 strikeouts in a single season, K-ing a career-high 313 batters in that 1999 campaign.
Baseball hasn't quite encountered a pitcher that dominated the way Martinez did in his early years with the Red Sox. Especially considering that he was accomplishing such feats during the steroid era, this move is almost a no-brainer.
His number will be the eighth retired by the Red Sox, and the first since Johnny Pesky's No. 6 in 2008.
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