The Boston Red Sox named four legends Wednesday to their team hall of fame as Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra and broadcaster Joe Castiglione will be honored by the team at an induction dinner this coming August.
Clemens pitched for the Red Sox for 13 seasons, ultimately tying Cy Young on the team’s all-time win list with 192.
With all the acrimony surrounding Clemens after his departure after the 1996 season, his utter dominance with Boston tends to be forgotten. During his tenure, he snagged three Cy Young awards (1986, 87, 91), won 20 games three times, (86, 87, 90), was named to five all-star teams (86, 88, 90-92) and was the ace pitcher for three American League Eastern Divisional Championships (86, 88, 90).
Clemens’ epic year was 1986.
Winning a league-leading 24 games, Clemens posted an ERA of 2.48 en route to Boston first pennant, and playoff appearance, since 1975. In April of that year, he set the single-game strikeout record by fanning 20 Seattle Mariners, a record he would later match in Detroit against the Tigers in 1996.
Although he never twirled a no-hitter, a generation of Fenway Faithful understood Clemens and his fastball were capable of hurling one every time he took the mound.
You want to talk about the ability to dictate a game on the mound, look no further than Martinez.
Arriving via a trade from the Montreal Expos before the 1998 season, Martinez’s seven years with the Red Sox may be the best stretch of any pitcher in major league history, let alone Boston.
In the heart of the steroid era, Martinez won the pitching Triple Crown in 1999 with 23 wins, a team-record 313 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.07. In 2000, he followed that up with another strikeout crown and a league-best ERA of 1.74, or an ERA+ of 291. That is nearly three times BETTER than league average!
Martinez left after the 2004 season, but not without winning 16 games on the first World Series championship in 86 years. When he took the hill, New England stopped and watched.
Another building block from that era was the heavy-hitting shortstop Garciaparra.
During his nine years guarding the hole in the left, Garciaparra tore the cover off the baseball. Winning two consecutive batting championships in 2000 and 2001, Number 5 hit .323 with Boston. The 1997 Rookie of the Year led the AL in hits with 209, drove in 100 runs four times and cracked 30 homers twice.
Coming up at the same time as Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, those three redefined the shortstop position as one of being mostly for slick fielding into one of all-around excellence.
Along with Martinez, Garciaparra was the face of the franchise as the team made a number of playoff appearances as a wild card, including two epic ALCS’ against the New York Yankees in 1999 and 2003.
Last, but not least, is the long time voice of Red Sox radio, Castiglione.
Arriving after stints with the Milwaukee Brewers and Cleveland Indians, Castiglione became the understudy of Ken Coleman in 1982 and becoming the primary voice after Coleman’s retirement in 1989.
Castiglione is best remembered for his long-time partnership with Jerry Trupiao and as the man behind the microphone during the improbable 2004 ALCS comeback against the Yankees and World Series sweep over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Yes, Ladies and Gentleman, we can believe it.
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