Pedro shares words of wisdom at Boston HS

November 24th, 2022

BOSTON -- It has been 18 years since Pedro Martinez fired his final pitch for the Red Sox, leading his team to victory in Game 3 of the World Series in St. Louis.

Here we are, nearly two decades later, and Martinez continues to pitch for Boston.

Only it no longer includes putting a shiny white baseball into his right hand and flummoxing opponents with his lethal fastball/changeup combo.

These days, Martinez makes his impact in the community he loves so dearly. That was evident recently when the Hall of Famer made a recent visit to East Boston High School and spent an hour in the auditorium sharing life lessons with the entire student body.

Upon arrival, Martinez threw on an East Boston hat and hoodie, gleefully making himself at home.

His motive for this type of visit?

“I just want to serve as a sign of hope for each one of them,” Martinez said. “I just want them to really appreciate the opportunity that they have. I wasn’t given the opportunity at that age to hear a big league player or a Hall of Famer come over and speak and serve as an example of integrity, perseverance, hard work and dedication.

“But more than anything, I just want them to feel appreciated, to know that someone like me is here because I feel appreciation for these kids.”

Community work like this isn’t checking off a box for Martinez. He throws himself into it and seems to receive as much joy as he provides.

“I enjoy it. I deeply feel like I enjoy doing this for these kids,” Martinez said. “I think they’re going to have to serve as an example later on. I think I’m doing it today. Someone in here, someday, will do the same thing. That’s what I’m hoping for. That they can take the message and relay it forward.”

Back in the spring, East Boston High School won its first Boston City League championship in 31 years. This day with Martinez was, in some ways, a grand celebration of that accomplishment.

Martinez expressed the enthusiasm of someone who was at that championship game back in May, even though he wasn’t. He took particular interest in team captain Luis Ortiz.

It was Ortiz who had the honor of introducing Martinez to the audience, leading into a video of the Hall of Famer’s career set to music. For the next hour, Martinez playfully and respectfully addressed Ortiz as “the captain.”

“I know that a lot of you got to see that video, got to see so many great things [from my career]. I was there. I was a champion for Boston. I can only tell you that I know exactly where you are,” Martinez said. “And I know where you want to get. Remember all the things we actually have to go through to make it to where we want to make it. I’m extremely happy to serve to you as a sign of hope, as a sign of persistence.”

Martinez took delight in pointing out his ordinary physique, keeping with his “anything is possible” theme.

“As you can see, I’m not very impressive [physically]. Where’s the captain? Just like captain here, he’s not impressive yet. I was just like that. Except he’s a little bit taller and better looking,” Martinez said as the crowd chuckled.

“I was just like captain. How much do you weigh, captain? 150? I got you by four pounds, but I was already up in the big leagues -- 154 pounds when I was in the big leagues. So imagine when I was in the Minor Leagues between 137 pounds and 148 pounds. And I made it to A-Ball, Double-A, Triple-A, and I finally put on a couple of pounds and was able to make it to the big leagues at 154.

“So I don’t want to hear anybody here say I don’t have a chance at the big leagues or for whatever you want to strive for, because I want to serve to you as an example. Resiliency, persistency, will to learn, will to get to your goals, will to be there will guide you there.”

“The fact that I see so many of you in the same uniform here, all of you probably had the same goal in whatever that is. Not all of you can be baseball players. But whatever that is, never lose sight of it, never go away from it, never shy away from what you want, from what your goals are, and more important than anything, do not let anybody tell you that you can’t.”

By this point, the students were captivated and on the edge of their seats, and Martinez then punctuated his message in succinct fashion.

“I never let anybody distract me from what I wanted. Never lose sight of what you want,” Martinez said. “Never give up, keep battling. If you ever get to a point where you’re in doubt, just look at me.”