Pedro Martinez speaks out about Justin Verlander winning AL Cy Young award

11 years later, Martinez calls out BBWAA for not voting for Pedro

1/11/12 in MLB   |   Pat   |   5234 respect

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, no one compared with Pedro Martinez. No one. The level of dominance he displayed on the pitcher's mound was something that we hadn't seen since the likes of Sandy Koufax, and we haven't seen anything like it ever since.

Even in 2011, when Justin Verlander took home the AL MVP, something Pedro was never able to do. Not surprisingly, Pedro has a problem with that. He went on Boston sports radio station WEEI  and discussed it.

"I was kind of pissed off at first, but then I went to realize that they [the voters] are going to have to live with that label on their back. If anyone calls them prejudice or racist for not voting for me, everyone will have to understand that it’s their responsibility for not voting for me at that time ... Now, after, what, 11 years, I see that they finally voted for another pitcher. Guess what: That pitcher is American. I was a Dominican-born player. That made me feel kind of awkward about it. If you compare my numbers to Justin’s, not taking anything from what he did, my numbers were way better. It would have been a lot easier for the voters to just do it. Do it. Just like that, do it."

Pretty heavy stuff, and I'm not entirely sure that there's racism behind the vote, but Pedro most definitely has a point. When you look at his numbers, both compared to Verlander and his peers back in his prime.

This was my initial problem when looking at the AL MVP options this year. Based solely on who was most valuable to their team, there's no doubt that Verlander was the obvious choice. However, based on the precedent of seeing Pedro get snubbed, especially in 1999, the requirements were shifted.

For me, it's no longer a case of whether or not a pitcher is truly the most valuable player in the league. After 1999, it became a case of "was this guy more dominant than Pedro was, back in 1999?"

In Verlander's case, he simply wasn't. He was without a doubt the best pitcher in the AL. He was without a doubt the most valuable player in the AL. He deservedly won the MVP. But there's no way anyone can look me in the eye and honestly make the case that he was better than Pedro Martinez, circa 1999.

  Verlander 2011 Martinez 1999
Wins 24 23
Losses 5 4
ERA 2.40 2.07
K 250 313
IP 251 213.1
ERA+ 170 243
WHIP 0.920 0.923
H/9 6.2 6.8
HR/9 0.9 0.4
BB/9 2.0 1.6
K/9 9.0 13.2
K/BB 4.39 8.46
 


You can make the call. Personally, I'll take Pedro. The most ridiculous number is that 243 ERA+. Believe it or not, his 2000 season was arguably better. I never thought I'd say this, but Napoleon Dynamite had it right this time.



It's a little late for Pedro to start chirping about it now, but he definitely has a valid point. Whether it's racism or not, he got robbed. But as he said, perhaps this will pave the way for future pitchers to get recognized appropriately.
 
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1/12/12   |   jaysinw   |   5037 respect

I have no problem with a pitcher getting MVP, I hear people say he does not pitch everyday..... blah blah blah. An everyday player does not have have as much of control as a pitcher in winning games neither. So if you took a pitcher like Verlander off the Tigers it would be a bigger void then say Bautista and Granderson. In 1999 Martinez had a great year, and if he would have won people would not be throwing their arms up in the air saying there is no way he should have won.

1/12/12   |   derms33   |   17653 respect

 Also Manny was my vote that year...then again, it seems homerish when i type it

1/12/12   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

(Edited by ML31)

Yeah, it must have been racism by the voters.  After all, Pedro finished a whopping 13 points behind that good old red blooded American Ivan Rodriguez for 2nd place.

My vote would have gone to Manny Ramirez that year anyway.  (Who tied with Alomar for 3rd, BTW).  In my mind, the only time pitchers should even be considered for MVP is if no position player really stands out.  

Further, he did win the Cy Young that year so he just comes across as a selfish whiner complaining about this more than a decade later.

For the record, my vote this year would have been for Cabrera or Bautista before Verlander.

1/12/12   |   derms33   |   17653 respect

 BTW..Pedro in '99 was absolutely FILTHY!!!!!

1/12/12   |   derms33   |   17653 respect

 ***Granderson had a monster season, and shoulda got more consideration...but hey, I still say vote for the MVP after the World Series...who meant more to their team?  Really, Verlander?  The Tigers didn't win jack.  He is a great pitcher, but he not an MVP.  Heck, Cabrera, drinks in hand, is more of fan MVP than him.  Ellsbury was punished because Gonzalez was on his team and same for Granderson because he plays on the Spankees.  MLB ALWAYS gets it wrong

1/12/12   |   derms33   |   17653 respect

 Nobody else had a dominant season apparently this year, I am a believer that no player should get an MVP and a CY Young.  They don't play everyday.  PERIOD.  It was a huge mistake to give it to Verlander but hey, MLB awards are a bigger joke than the NFL Pro Bowl...wait, not yet, but its close

1/11/12   |   Pat   |   5234 respect

Dan_B wrote:
What makes that year even more impressive: it was in the heart of the steroid era. Offensese were far more potent in 1999 than they are today--yet Pedro dominated. He was as fun to watch as any pitcher I can remember. He was fierce and mean on the mound, and despite his small stature, he never backed down. (And this is coming from a Yankees' fan who enjoyed nothing more than the Pedro-Grady Little meltdown in 2003). 

 Go make me a ham sandwich, Bohm.

1/11/12   |   Dan_B   |   1067 respect

What makes that year even more impressive: it was in the heart of the steroid era. Offensese were far more potent in 1999 than they are today--yet Pedro dominated. He was as fun to watch as any pitcher I can remember. He was fierce and mean on the mound, and despite his small stature, he never backed down. (And this is coming from a Yankees' fan who enjoyed nothing more than the Pedro-Grady Little meltdown in 2003). 

1/11/12   |   keppieboy   |   158 respect

 That was an incredible year for Pedro he has my vote.