Pedro Martinez, indisputably one of the greatest pitchers of all-time, shared a message of appreciation for the Phillies and expressed regret over how his run ended. More than a decade later, that brief stint with the Phillies still feels like half like a daydream, half like a summer fling.
"It was only half a season, but I still have a lot of love for my time with the Phillies," Martinez wrote on Instagram Wednesday.
Following a rough final year with the Mets in 2008, Pedro signed in mid-July with a juggernaut 2009 Phils team looking to win a second straight World Series. His first start came a month later, Aug. 12, at Wrigley Field and he won his Phillies debut. In fact, the Phillies won Pedro's first seven starts and eight of the nine he made.
He went 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA in nine starts for the Phillies with 37 strikeouts and just eight walks in 44⅔ innings. His best two starts came against the Mets (eight scoreless) and Giants (7 IP, 1 R, 9 K).
In the NLCS, he started Game 2 against the Dodgers, allowing just two hits over seven shutout innings in a 2-1 Phillies loss.
In the World Series, Pedro started Games 2 and 6 against the Yankees, both in the Bronx. He made a quality start in Game 2, giving up three runs over six innings with eight K's. He was taken deep by Hideki Matsui in their final meeting that night.
Phillies fans remember how Game 6 went down. The Yankees ended the Phillies' championship hopes that night thanks almost entirely to Matsui. He hit a two-run homer and a two-run single against Pedro in his first two at-bats, then added a two-run double off of J.A. Happ an inning later.
"I said it before, but if I could have one game back, it'd be my last one: Game 6, Phillies vs. Yankees, 2009 World Series," Pedro wrote. "Sick as a dog, but tried to pitch anyway ... wanted to do something big for Philly. So if I could have one do-over, that'd be it."
That was indeed the final appearance of Pedro Martinez's Hall of Fame career, one in which he led the majors in ERA and WHIP five times apiece, led the league in strikeouts three times, won three Cy Young awards, made eight All-Star teams and won a World Series in 2004, ironically his worst season in Boston.
"I was so sick. Everybody was in our clubhouse was, but I got it late after the first game I pitched, Game 2," Martinez said a few years ago on MLB Network, where he's been a studio analyst since 2015.
"I wasn't supposed to pitch but I chose to go out there, you know, macho adrenaline."
It was admirable, and had the Phillies won just two more games that season, that three-month ride here would be remembered as more than just a short epilogue to his storied career.