The Baseball Writers Association of America elected four new members to baseball’s Hall of Fame this year, including one former New York Met.
While Pedro Martinez will be remembered by most for his achievements with the Boston Red Sox, my strongest memory comes from one of about a dozen games I went to at Shea Stadium in 2005.
While we were settling in to watch the start of the game, Pedro quickly retired the first two Arizona Diamondbacks batters. Then, with Luis Gonzalez at the plate, all of the sprinklers on the infield suddenly turned on!
Many pitchers would have let something like that throw them off of their routine. Not Pedro. On the Diamondvision board, you could see Pedro smiling and laughing about the ridiculous situation. While the other players left the field during the delay, Pedro stayed out there. Once order was restored, he struck out Gonzalez and went on to pitch eight innings of one-run ball as the Mets won 6-1.
After the game, Pedro told reporters, “Water is a blessing, I believe. So I got wet.”
I hope the Mets invite Pedro Martinez out to Citi Field sometime this summer to honor him and give fans one more chance to applaud.
My memories of Randy Johnson are of post-season baseball. His tour of duty with the New York Yankees was disappointing, and as an east coast fan, there was little opportunity to watch the Mariners or Diamondbacks.
Johnson was the co-MVP of the 2001 World Series, starting and winning games two and six and picking up the game seven victory in relief. It was a great series, but Johnson had to share the spotlight with teammate Curt Schilling.
So when I think of Randy Johnson, I’ll remember the one-game playoff between the Seattle Mariners and California Angels in 1995. I didn’t watch a lot of baseball that year, but we did have ESPN in our dorms and I didn’t have any classes to keep me watching the novelty of a “Game 163” to determine which team would participate in the playoffs and which one would go home.
Mark Langston was good, but Johnson took a perfect game into the sixth inning when Rex Hudler broke it up with a single. He ended up with a complete game victory, allowing just one run on three hits and 12 strikeouts. I still can’t figure out how he game up those three hits.
I don’t have any specific memories of Craig Biggio, though for a time I collected his baseball cards because he went to New Jersey’s Seton Hall University. What strikes me about Biggio is his dedication to baseball. After coming up as a catcher and becoming an All-Star at that position, Biggio moved to second base and became good enough to be an All-Star and Gold Glove winner there. Just for good measure, he also played in over 300 games as an outfielder during his 20-year career.
According to the Ultimate Mets Database, John Smoltz won 18 of his 213 victories against the Mets. It really seemed like more. Smoltz claimed his milestone 200th career win against the Mets on May 24, 2007 at the age of 40. He out-pitched former teammate Tom Glavine in the 2-1 contest.
I’d hoped that Mike Piazza would join these four new Hall of Fame members this year, but he fell 28 votes short. Maybe next year. There won’t be a next year for Carlos Delgado, who received only 21 votes, seven short of the minimum to remain on the ballot. (Former Mets Cliff Floyd and Tony Clark both failed to be named on any ballots.)
What are your memories of this year’s Hall of Fame class?
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