Someone e-mailed me about a SOSH thread that said that it was 10 years ago yesterday — March 6, 1998 — that li’l Petey made his first-ever start in a Boston uniform. Yeah, it was a grapefruit game. But still… whether we knew it or not, it was the harbinger of great, great things to come.
Interestingly, someone in the thread referenced a post I wrote when Pedro left us for the Mets. And on the occasion of this tenth anniversary of sorts, I’m re-running it here:
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I miss him already.
Miss the swagger. The head pointing. The drama queen antics. The Great Zim Toss of 2003.
The Yoda mask. The spastic dance moves. The dugout cheerleading. The horrific jheri curls. “Wake up the Bambino and maybe I’ll drill him in the ass.”
He had a heart as big as your Aunt Selma and a body that seemed vulnerable to the slightest breeze. But when he got on that mound, man, all he was missing was the cape. And some nights, he even had that.
His rules were simple. The inside of the plate is mine. Thou shalt plunk my teammates at your own risk. The ball you hit over the wall this inning could be the ball that gets wedged up your south 40 next inning. So think about it, punk.
My two favorite Pedro moments provide splendid bookends to his remarkable tenure in Boston. The first is in 1999, when he reversed the tide of the ALDS, coming in against a Cleveland team that was beating the tar out of the ball and rendering them completely inoperative. In those days, the salad days, he was the angel of death. And on that October night, with a packed house in Cleveland going apeshit and tasting Red Sox blood, the bullpen door swung open, a slight figure ambled out of it, and an eerie silence descended. Because Pedro was coming into the game. And that was like flipping a switch. Over and out.
More recently, during Game five of the ALCS, Petey made perhaps his boldest statement when he came up and in on Hideki Matsui, knocking him on his ass and effectively taking his bat — which to that point had become Thor’s Hammer — out of the series.
He was a gamer. He was a warrior. He was controversial. He was beloved.
And now he’s a New York Met.
And suddenly there’s great concern regarding the Sox’ 2005 rotation. A rotation anchored on Schilling and the ankle.
I have faith that Theo will make everything right. I know he will.
But for now, I’m just missing our l’il Dominican buddy. And wishing him well.
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And here’s some Prime Petey from the 1999 All-Star Game:
Your own Pedro memories can go in the comments section. Come correct for the man.