“A lot of people, when they saw me competing never saw the human being behind it,” Hall Of Famer Pedro Martinez tells the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner while promoting the former’s new tome, “Pedro”, hitting bookstores (or what’s left of ’em) next week. Among the cretins who might not have fully appreciated Pedro The Human while relentlessly pushing Pedro The Workhorse was Mets C.O.O. Jeff Wilpon (above, right), whom Martinez claims forced him to take his turn in the rotation for a meaningless late September contest vs. the Marlins while injured.
Martinez writes that his toe was hurt and that Manager Willie Randolph had told him he was done for the season. But, he said, Wilpon wanted to sell tickets for a matchup against the star Marlins left-hander Dontrelle Willis. Martinez said he protested the order and offered to give back the rest of his contract.
“While I’m the boss here, you’re going to have to do what I say,” Wilpon said, according to Martinez, who gave in and pitched. He lost the game, which drew 25,093 fans, and said the injury prolonged the toe problem. Other parts of his body broke down the next season, and Martinez was inactive for the Mets’ run to Game 7 of the 2006 National League Championship Series.
“I couldn’t help but think about how when I was healthy in 2005, our team wasn’t that good,” Martinez writes. “But as my health declined, I was urged to pitch a meaningless game at the end of 2005 that wound up shortening my recovery time for 2006 and led me to a hospital where doctors performed a three-hour arthroscopic procedure to repair my shoulder.”
In a statement through a spokesman, Wilpon denied that he told Martinez to pitch hurt.
“Pedro was always a great competitor and deserving of being in the Hall of Fame,” the statement said. “This particular excerpt in the book is false as those kinds of decisions have always been put in the hands of our baseball people.”
It would be a big relief to learn that Wilpon was not in the habit of interfering with baseball matters, thus leaving Fred’s son with plenty of time to concentrate on important executive duties (like, ruining David Wright’s career with a ballpark design, or lecturing employees on what it takes to be a good parent).