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Ex-Sox hero Pedro Martinez to National Portrait Gallery

Posted by Geoff Edgers  February 28, 2011 04:15 PM

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pedroLa_Orgullo_y_la_DeterminacionBig.jpgHe stares into home plate, working the ball, with that penetrating look that once struck fear in even the most jacked-up, steroid-soaked sluggers. That is pre-“Who’s Your Daddy” Pedro Martinez, the Yankee-killer who won three Cy Young Awards and dazzled the Fenway faithful until his 2004 exit. Today, we learned that the oil painting entitled “El Orgullo y la Determinacion (Pride and Determination)” will join another work featuring a famous Sox hero, Carlton Fisk, in the National Portrait Gallery.

Cambridge’s Susan Miller-Havens, author of the Fisk and the Pedro, sold “El Orgullo” for $35,000 a few years ago to legendary Boston-born baseball scribe Peter Gammons and his wife, Gloria Trowbridge Gammons. The couple have given the 57” by 21” work to the Smithsonian’s museum.

“What first interested me in painting Pedro was the fact that he had been told that because he was so small he was never going to last and he was never going to be a power pitcher,” Miller-Havens said today in an interview. “Hence, the title.”

The National Portrait Gallery didn’t want to release the image of the Pedro painting until it opens its “Recent Acquisitions” show on March 25, but Miller-Havens confirmed the work after we found the image on her web site. We also found works depicting former Sox heroes Dennis Eckersley and Luis Tiant. Of more concern was the image of Don Zimmer in pinstripes. Didn’t she remember Pedro’s altercation with the pudgy coach in 2003?
“I painted that way before the incident,” she said. “I thought Zimmer was a very funny looking character. Look at him. I just thought it was hysterical. I’m no fan of Zimmer.”

Over the years, Miller-Havens said she has grown to be friends with Pedro. In November, he visited her gallery to sign prints. She asked if he would pitch again, but he wouldn’t say.

“He just gave me this great big smile,” said Miller-Havens. “He’s a sweetie pie.”

How about a Red Sox uniform for one final trip to the mound?

“It might be nice,” said Miller-Havens. “But he’s proud, remember. He doesn’t want to come back unless it was right.”

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About Exhibitionist Geoff Edgers covers arts news for The Boston Globe..
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