There’s no doubt that Pedro Martinez is on the fast track to National Baseball Hall of Fame. And now he wants to see Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds make it into the Cooperstown shrine, as well.
Martinez — who will be on the coming ballot and should be part of the 2015 class heading to Cooperstown — spoke about the two controversial players at Fenway Park today prior to getting inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame, along with Clemens and Nomar Garciaparra.
“I think Roger [Clemens], with all due respect to everybody that votes, I’ll have to say Roger and Barry Bonds are two guys that I think had enough numbers before anything came out to actually earn a spot in the Hall of Fame,” Martinez said. “I’m not quite sure 100 percent how close they will be before all the things came out but in my heart, in my heart if you asked me before any of that, I would’ve said, ‘Yes, 100 percent,’ without looking back.
“Because it wasn’t just the individual performances. [It was] how they dominated the time that they came up and stayed in the big leagues until those things happened. So I believe they have a legit chance, and I think, with time, I think the voters will take into consideration what they did previously.”
Neither Clemens or Bonds have come anywhere near the 75 percent vote required for election into Cooperstown the past two seasons most likely due to their names being associated with performance-enhancing drug use in the past via highly publicized charges and legal cases.
In December 2012, Martinez gave a slightly different opinion when asked about the Hall of Fame candidacies of Clemens and Bonds, pointing out the two stars had impressive statistics before “everything exploded.”
“It’s really difficult for me to choose either one,” Martinez said. “I would have loved to face Roger Clemens when he was Roger Clemens with nothing. I would have loved to face him all the time.
“I was clean. I know I was clean. That’s all I can say. I was out there and they got the best out of me. Beat me or not, that was the best I had, and clean. I wish it were the same way for every one of them.”
Martinez is proud to have had great success against hitters who were probably juicing.
“A lot of people ask me about the Steroid Era, and I always say that I wouldn’t want it any other way, because every time I took the mound, I took pride on it. It was my day to do art,” Martinez said. “I enjoyed every single aspect on top of the mound and in the game. Every day I got a chance to be out there, to me, was a chance to display my art, how I did it. I took pride. “I enjoyed every time I was able to frame pretty much like the castle — two inches off the corner to get a guy to strike out in a tough situation, frame a changeup from the hip to the black away was just great, throw a fastball by someone powerful was also something I always took pride in it. It was my day to display my art, so I enjoyed it 100 percent.”
Today, Clemens didn’t seem concerned whether or not he gets into Cooperstown down the road and said he wouldn’t have done anything differently over the course of his career.
“I don’t know if it’s that important, it’s not going to change me as a person,” Clemens said. “I tell people I’ve got bits and pieces of us there now. We go visit those people and they’re great to us, but it’s not something I sit up and worry about every day.
“I’m far too busy to worry about something like that. I know what I did in my career and how I did it, and I did it right. I can’t control what people think or people that don’t look at facts.”
Clemens said that of all the teams he’s played for — including the Yankees — he identifies most with the Red Sox. And if he ever makes it to Cooperstown, he’d like to go in with a Red Sox cap on his plaque, if given a choice.
But first, he’s going to have to get the nod.