By Pat Payton
Just prior to this year’s CBHFM Induction Weekend, the Hall was informed that former Montreal Expos’ star pitcher Pedro Martinez was unable to attend the 2018 event due to a medical condition.
“Please accept my sincere apologies for not attending the 2018 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend,” Martinez said in a statement to the CBHFM. “I am currently dealing with a medical condition and have been advised by my medical staff not to travel.
“While I expect a full and fast recovery, we must take these precautions with regards to travel. Unfortunately, it is out of my control. I am frustrated that my absence will disappoint my fans from Canada.
“The people of Montreal welcomed me from the moment I arrived. They provided me opportunity, support and loyalty. They never rushed me and were always there to encourage me. They impacted my heart so much that when I finally won the World Series (2004 with Boston), I wanted to share the championship with them. Knowing that those loyal fans had lost their team, I wanted them to know that the trophy was a piece of them.”
The Dominican Republic native hopes to come to St. Marys at a later date and “celebrate this great honour with you, the fans,” he said.
Martinez, 46, played four seasons in Montreal (55-33 record) in the mid-1990s and was the ace of the Expos’ pitching staff. He was also the first and only Expos’ hurler to win the National League Cy Young Award.
At Saturday’s induction, three former Montreal pitchers–Steve Rogers, Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee and Billy Atkinson–went to the podium and talked about Martinez’s talents on the mound. Atkinson described him as a “bulldog” when he pitched.
Hall of Fame induction notebook:
–In his opening remarks Saturday, CBHFM chairman of the board Adam Stephens said it’s been an “extremely exciting year” with the 2,500 square-foot addition to the Museum.
–John Starzynski was presented with the Randy Echlin Lifetime Volunteer Award by CBHFM chairman Stephens. Starzynski served 12 years on the CBHFM board, including six as chair.
–Charles Gordon accepted the Jack Graney media award on behalf of his late sister Alison Gordon. A beat reporter with the Toronto Star, she covered the Blue Jays for five seasons (1979-83) and as a “trailblazer” broke down barriers for female sports writers.
The Graney award has been presented to a member of the Canadian media since 1987.
–Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins attends every Canadian Hall of Fame induction and presents the new inductees with their jackets on stage. This year, he was unable to make the trip north due to his wife’s illness.
–Past CBHFM inductees present on Saturday included: Howard Starkman, Murray Cook, Alan Simpson, Steve Rogers, Jim McKean, Paul Beeston, Pat Gillick and Ron Taylor.
–Other former Major League players in attendance were: Duane Ward, Willie Upshaw, Paul Spoljaric, Paul Hodgson, Stratford’s Larry Landreth and John Upham.