Pedro Martinez's career wasn't perfect. He had some blemishes, including a rough outing in which he gave up 10 earned runs to the Baltimore Orioles in 4.1 innings of work back in 2003. In 2006, with the Mets, he lasted exactly one inning before he was pulled against the Phillies, surrendering six runs in a game that was over as soon as it started. In the 2003 ALCS, he wasn't particularly hard to hit from the Yankees' perspective, giving up nine runs over 14.1 innings of work and seeing the Red Sox lose in both games that he started.
But those tough outings, whether in the playoffs or the regular season, aren't things that he things back on with regret. After all, with a career stat line of 219 wins, 100 losses, 3,154 strikeouts and a 2.93 ERA, it's hard to find all that much to complain about. There was one moment from that 2003 ALCS, however, that Pedro will never forgot and always regret.
And you know exactly what that moment is.
18 years after that fateful incident, Martinez still looks back on it and wishes he'd handled it differently, though he also maintains that he was not the aggressor in the situation.
"Manny (Ramirez) was like angry, yapping, this and that. I'm in the bathroom... so I came out a little later. When I came out the brawl was already (happening), because I'm zipping up my pants quickly and I'm trying to get through to see what's going on," Martinez told Master Tesfatsion on "Untold Stories" from Bleacher Report. "And that's when I hear the mumbling behind me. And I see Zimmer rushing toward me, and I'm like, 'What?!'
"And that's when he got close to me, said some bad words that I didn't expect from Zimmer, either. He actually tried to jab me, so I pulled it, and that's why it looked like I grabbed him. But in reality, that's the only blemish I would love to erase from my career. There hasn't been any other moment where I felt worse in my life — I will tell you, in my life — than that moment. And that moment led to a lot more."
Though that incident obviously put him in bad standing with a number of New Yorkers, he says that going back there is "a lot better than I ever thought it would be."
Martinez has spoken about the ALCS Game 3 brawl before, and he tells it the exact same way every time, labeling it as his only true regret from his playing days. In his book, "Pedro," the details sound just like they do in his recent appearance with Bleacher Report (as transcribed by SI.com):
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.