Pedro's focus shifts to foundation, Hall call
Iconic pitcher talks of helping others during Caribbean Series visit
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- One day, Pedro Martinez could join countryman Juan Marichal in Cooperstown and become the second Dominican-born player to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. But in the meantime, the retired pitcher said he is concentrating on his foundation and serving as an ambassador of goodwill.
"I am getting excited, and I hope that nothing goes wrong with the [Hall of Fame] voters and they appreciate what I have done in the big leagues," said Martinez, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Monday night's Caribbean Series game between the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. "Hopefully, I will be there on the first ballot or however."
Speaking to MLB.com, Martinez also shared some advice for his good friend, injured Mets pitcher Johan Santana, who is still recovering from left shoulder surgery in 2010. Santana has been throwing on flat ground since last month and has said he hopes to be ready by the start of Spring Training games.
"The results are not going to come from one day to the other," said Martinez, who also faced injuries during his career. "They will come slowly and he will have to be patient. He is not going to feel like the same Johan Santana that he was a few years back. He's going to really set his mind back to do that. The process can be a little bit frustrating. I just hope he can take it easy, take it easy on himself."
"We are in the final stage of starting to build another charter school, baseball fields and other structures that will help the kids develop a little bit," he said. "I am going to be knocking on doors. I need help to try to help out the people that need it."
In 2009, Martinez and his wife Carolina Cruz de Martinez partnered with Major League Baseball and the MLB Dominican Development Alliance to launch an educational program called, "Hay Poder en Aprender" (translated: There is Power in Learning) in their hometown community of Manoguayabo in western Santo Domingo.
"I want to give the kids, especially the kids in desperate need of opportunity, the opportunities that I never had," Martinez said. "I want to channel everything to education, but at the same time I would love to see so many more Pedro Martinezes. But more than that, I want them to have a choice in life and the opportunity to have a better life."
In December, Martinez said he is going to announce his retirement with parties in Boston and the Dominican Republic. What's certain is that he finished his career with a 219-100 record, a 2.93 ERA, 3,154 strikeouts, eight All-Star selections and a .687 winning percentage, which is second among pitchers with at least 300 games since 1919.