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Pedro Martinez Elected to National Baseball Hall of Fame in his First Year of Eligibility

Pedro Martinez was today elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, garnering 91.1 percent of the vote. The right-handed pitcher becomes one of 50 players ever with that distinction, and one of only 16 first-ballot pitchers, along with fellow 2015 electees Randy Johnson and John Smoltz. Martinez joins Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and Wade Boggs as the only first-ballot Hall of Famers that played more seasons for the Red Sox than for any other team.

Martinez is the 34th Red Sox player to be elected to the Hall of Fame. He is the 11th Red Sox pitcher, and the first ever to be elected after playing his most major league seasons with Boston. (Hall of Famer Cy Young's eight seasons with the Red Sox are his most for any team in the modern major league era, but he played nine years with the National League's Cleveland Spiders before 1900.)

Martinez received 500 of the 549 votes cast by eligible members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Winners must garner at least 75 percent of all ballots cast by eligible members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Martinez will be introduced as a Hall of Famer at a press conference at Fenway Park today at 4:00 p.m., then will meet fans at the Red Sox' Baseball Winter Weekend January 24. He will be enshrined in Cooperstown, New York, Sunday, July 26, and will be honored at Fenway Park, Tuesday, July 28.

A three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star, the electric Martinez spent seven seasons with the Red Sox beginning in 1998 and was a key part of the 2004 team that brought a World Series title to Boston for the first time since 1918. 

During his 18-year major league career, the right-hander went 219-100 with a 2.93 ERA and 3,154 strikeouts in 2,827.1 innings. His career .687 winning percentage ranks second among modern major leaguers (since 1900) behind only Whitey Ford's .690 mark (more than 250 decisions). His ERA was 50 percent better than the MLB average of 4.40 from 1993-2009.

Among pitchers with at least 2,500 career innings in the majors, only Nolan Ryan (.204) has a lower opponent batting average than Martinez (.214). Since the live ball era began in 1920, no pitcher has a lower opponent on-base percentage than his .276 mark.

With the Red Sox, Martinez went 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA. He has the best winning percentage in franchise history (.760) and also tops club records (min. 1,000 innings) with an average of 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings and a .206 opponent batting average. Among Red Sox all-time leaders, he ranks third in strikeouts (1,683), sixth in wins (117), and seventh in ERA.

In his tenure with Boston, Martinez was the major league leader in winning percentage, ERA, opponent batting average, opponent on-base percentage (.261), opponent slugging percentage (.317), opponent OPS (.578), and WHIP (0.98). He also led all American Leaguers in strikeouts per nine innings, the only AL pitcher to average at least a strikeout per inning during that stretch.

He was the starter, winner, and Most Valuable Player of the memorable 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park on July 13. He struck out the first four batters he faced: Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa. After Matt Williams reached on an error, he struck out Jeff Bagwell. Williams was then caught stealing to end the inning and the seal the performance.

In his career, Martinez led the major leagues in ERA on five occasions, including 1997 with the Expos (1.90) and four times during his first five years as a member of the Red Sox: 1999 (2.07), 2000 (1.74), 2002 (2.26), and 2003 (2.22). He won the AL's strikeout title in 1999 (313), 2000 (284), and 2002 (239).

Martinez, now 43 years old, finished within the top four in AL Cy Young balloting in each of his six full seasons with the Red Sox (with the exception coming in 2001, when he was limited to 18 starts due to injury).

He was the unanimous winner of the American League's Cy Young Award in back-to-back seasons-1999 and 2000. Winning the AL pitching Triple Crown in 1999, he fanned a Red Sox-record 313 batters in 213.1 innings, and set an MLB record that still stands by striking out 37.5 percent of the batters he faced. That year, he also set a big league record striking out at least 10 batters in eight consecutive games.

His 1.74 ERA in 2000 is the best single-season mark by an American League pitcher over the last 46 seasons (starting in 1969). In 2000, he established modern major league records for lowest opponent average (.167), lowest opponent on-base percentage (.213), and WHIP (0.74). 

Martinez joins fellow right-handed pitcher Juan Marichal (inducted in 1983) as the only natives of the Dominican Republic in the Hall of Fame. Among all Dominican-born pitchers, Martinez has the highest winning percentage, most strikeouts, and ranks second to Marichal in wins and ERA.

Signed originally in 1988 by the Los Angeles Dodgers, for whom he played in 1992 and 1993, Martinez also played for the Montreal Expos (1994-97), the Red Sox (1998-2004), the New York Mets (2005-08), and the Philadelphia Phillies (2009).

He is tied for the Red Sox record with 11 starts over four seasons of postseason play with Boston, and compiled a 3.40 ERA in his 13 total postseason outings with the club. He is also the franchise's all-time leader in wins (tied, 6), strikeouts (80), and innings pitched (79.1) in the postseason.

He returned to the Red Sox organization in January 2013 and has spent the last two years as Special Assistant to the General Manager.

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