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CBN.com Pedro Martinez made his Major League debut in 1992. He’s won over 200 games, won three Cy Young awards, and he’s been selected to all star teams four times -- including 1999 when we was selected American League MVP.
The 5’11 Dominican also set a record when he won the American League Pitcher of the Month award four times in a row. Yet, with all Pedro’s success, no one could guess the challenges he faced on his way to the top.
His journey began in the shadow of his older brother Ramon who had just been signed to the Dodgers.
“I used to go to the field every time I had a little free time,” Pedro says. “I wanted to go and do what my brother did -- throw like my brother and do it like the guys did it.”
Pedro’s passion for baseball was born. But little did he know just how difficult the journey would be.
“I wanted to be like my brother. I wanted to be a baseball player. I thought it was so cool, but then I looked at myself. I was so little. I wanted to grow quicker and quicker and I couldn’t.”
Pedro accepted Christ at an early age. He knew just what to do when his decisions became difficult.
“I started praying about it a little bit. At night I would never express it to anybody but I would say, ‘Oh God help me. If I can’t be a doctor, let me be a baseball player.’ I’d find myslf praying all the time for baseball.”
The harder Pedro practiced, the harder and faster he threw. Eventually the Dodgers signed him to their rookie team. Not long after that, he heard something from a coach that almost crushed his dreams of playing baseball.
“I guess one of the coaches wasn’t going along with me going pro,” he recalls. “He didn’t believe I was going to be a baseball player. I wasn’t going to develop. He said, ‘He’s too little. He’s like little spider. He’s not gonna develop. He’s too small.’ That really hit me.”
Pedro was hurt but once again turned to God.
“I remember praying and reading the Bible everyday. I remember some of the Psalms. In the Bible every night, ‘God, You’re my strength. God, You’re my rock.’”
Soon he began to throw harder and faster. The coaches couldn’t believe it.
“I remember I developed velocity from one year to the other. I was 83 [mph], 84 in one year. Then all of a sudden next year I was 87 to 90, 90 to 93. They said, ‘No, the radar gun must be bad.’ They couldn’t believe I could throw that hard being so small. They brought two more, and I was throwing even harder.”
Eventually Pedro proved he was up to the task of being a pitcher in the big leagues. But there was still one more obstacle to overcome.
“Once I traveled to the United States, all of the other players in the clubhouse would say, ‘Oh, he’s here because he’s Ramon’s brother. Look at him. He’s not like his brother.’ Ramon is 6’4 and 190 lbs. I was 5’11, 154, really skinny and didn’t even look like it. But then I threw hard.”
Because of his brother’s success, Pedro couldn’t escape the comparision.
“I wanted to do it on my own,” Pedro says. “I wanted to build my own name, my own reputation.”
Again Pedro prayed for direction. Then one day during a game…
“Ramon told me, ‘Why don’t you throw by yourself on the side so you can practice a little bit?’ So I went to throw in a bullpin in the seventh inning. I had thrown my last pitch in the practice session that I had. They said, ‘Who is that warming up?’ I remember the coach saying as I sat in the chair, ‘That was Ramon’s little brother. Can he pitch?’ ‘Of course he just warmed up.’ I didn’t even throw another pitch. I went straight in.”
Pedro’s performance was astounding. He ended that year leading all relievers with 107 innings pitched. He fanned 119 batters and won ten games. He was no longer just “Ramon’s little brother”.
Since then, Pedro has been with four different teams including the Red Sox where he rejoined his brother in ‘98 and would soon capture the World Series 2004 championship. He’s currently with the Mets, and the saga continues.
“I pray everyday just to stay healthy,” says Pedro. “I say, ‘God, in Your hands I lay my spirit. Because if anything happens, it’s because God wanted it to happen. He’s God and He’s the Mighty One. He’s the only one that knows what we really are.
“It's such a joy that I feel now. I feel that God uses the weak to show the stronger one who the power belongs to. I’m one big example of what God wants to do.”
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