Although with light blue and shoulder patches depicting the coat of arms of the Dominican Republic, it was clear that Martinez – the one-time star of the Boston Red Sox who gave the White Sox fits during way too many games – was determined to make a statement.
FOR IT WAS clear that Sunday at the Baseball Hall of Fame was meant to be an ethnic pride statement – which came timed particularly appropriately following the recent dismissal of an ESPN broadcaster for his comments.
Personally, I was upset to hear Colin Cowherd think that there is something less-than-literate or complex about baseball. Although his evidence of the simplicity of baseball – the fact that so many people of Dominican ethnic origins play the game – ticked off Martinez.
Who earlier said Cowherd wasn’t worthy of insulting a Hall of Famer like himself. And on Sunday made sure to let everybody know that he was Dominican and that there probably ought to be more Dominicans in the Hall of Fame.
For as it stands, there are only two people born in the Dominican Republic who got into professional baseball and made it all the way to the Hall of Fame.
THOSE WERE ONE-TIME San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal, and now Martinez – whose own career began with the Giants’ long-time arch-rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
As Martinez said several times, it has been 32 years since Marichal got into the Hall of Fame (after being rejected for a few years because of a violent outburst involving Dodgers catcher John Roseboro). For all we know, it may be another 32 years before another Dominican gets into the Hall.
Even though there are so many Dominicans (about 10 percent currently) playing Major League Baseball, there are those who express their resentment and want to diminish their role.
Martinez even made his visual gift for all the Dominicans (including several government officials) who made the trip to upstate New York to see the ceremonies) by having Marichal join him in waving about the Dominican flag.
AT RED, WHITE and blue, it is all-to-similar to the U.S of A. colors that would have made him appear to be a patriot. Although listening to his induction speech, Martinez also threw in enough plugs for this country giving him a chance to move ahead in life.
Which ought to appease any of the nativists of our society who otherwise would want to claim he should be favoring this nation instead of any other.
As one who enjoys seeing the growing numbers of Latin American ballplayers because they maintain the standards of the U.S. major leagues as the world’s elite, it makes me wonder if Martinez has a point when it comes to that “32 year” wait.
Because there are times it seems when certain fanaticos de beisbol are determined to downplay the role of Latin American peloteros. I remember when one-time Chicago Cub Sammy Sosa was considered a Hall of Fame shoo-in.
SOMETHING ABOUT THAT six-season peak where he exceeded New York Yankees great Babe Ruth in his prime, and he managed to top the 600-home run standard that should have made the 2013 Hall of Fame class an elite combo of Sosa, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
Who knows if Sosa will ever overcome the taint of the “S” word and get Hall of Fame status? Or will just slink into the minutia of baseball trivia as one of the many Dominicans who came to this country to play baseball since Ossie Virgil became a part of the New York Giants back in 1956. Including Martinez’ brother, Ramon, whom scouts initially thought would be the better of the two, and to whom Pedro offered plenty of praise on Sunday.
Martinez also says he hopes we can view his playing career, “as a sign of hope for a Third World country, for Latinos” and somebody sports fans can be proud of. Maybe even Canadians – for whom he gave a plug for baseball to someday return to Montreal.
Creating yet another team that can knock the stuffing out of Chicago ball clubs on any given day.