David Ortiz (2 HRs, 7 RBIs) led the Red Sox over the Tigers Sunday night. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
David Ortiz came up with the perfect tribute to Pedro Martinez.
Hours after the Red Sox pitching great was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, Ortiz, inspired by a 30-minute bilingual speech, went out and drove in a career-high seven runs and belted two three-run homers in an 11-1 pasting of the Tigers at Fenway Park.
“I was very emotional today looking at the induction,” Ortiz said. “It’s something that was remarkable. You never know what is going to pop out. Pedro, I got tears coming out when I saw Pedro talking because I know the man. I know everything that he went through in his career. I used to see that with Pedro after games. He starts telling me stories about things. All the stories he used to tell me made me a better human being, made me a better player. He was good. He wrote a book about it.
“He let it fly during the speech because for a lot of people, I know some of the fans, fans that don’t follow him. They thought that Pedro was as crazy as he looks sometimes when he was pitching. Pedro was the most unbelievable human being I have been around. Pedro is a Christian man. He is a man that thanks God every single minute of his life. Just watching during the speech, there was no doubt about the human being that I know that was out there letting people know how the game gets to be played.”
Ortiz has struggled this season, as has the team. But on a night like Sunday, Ortiz could only imagine what Martinez would be doing to him in the dugout.
“He’d be hugging me all night,” Ortiz said. “Pedro, man, I’m telling you, he’s special. He’s somebody I always love having around because Pedro is nothing but positive stuff coming out. I’m pretty sure everybody in New England enjoyed his induction today.”
Ortiz now has 19 homers, raised his average eight points to .243 and his slugging percentage 24 points to .468 with Sunday’s effort. He said he has been keeping in touch with Martinez this season, as the former pitcher continues to inspire him, even through difficult times.
“Always. Always. Always,” Ortiz said. “It’s a long season. And you work extremely hard to have a good season every year but this is the kind of year where things are going in a different direction, and not just for me but for everybody. But in my case, I just keep on working and keep on trying every night to do something.”
Ortiz and Martinez were teammates for just two seasons but that was long enough for Ortiz to understand the man and long enough to capture their only World Series title together in 2004. But Sunday, Ortiz also got some insight to the other three players inducted, as he also paid close attention to the speeches of John Smoltz (a teammate in 2009), Craig Biggio and Randy “Big Unit” Johnson.
“I played with Pedro,” Ortiz said. “You guys [media, fans] know what my relationship with Pedro is. Smoltz,I got to know him a little bit. But once you get to listen to those guys talking, it just takes things to another level. Big Unit today talking was like I’m his No. 1 fan from now on. Those lives he touched. There’s something the fans put a lot of attention to it. Sometimes, people judge you for the things you do on the field and things stay like that. Once you off the field and out of the uniform, there’s a human being behind the whole thing. That’s something I experienced tonight.
“Today was a day where emotions were pretty much going all over the place in this clubhouse. Myself, I’m not going to lie to you, I was watching the induction, watched pretty much the whole thing. It was very emotional. Today, I got to know guys through their speech. You don’t really know them.”