Pedro Martinez was a 20-year old pitcher when he debuted for the Dodgers on September 24, 1992. He pitched two scoreless innings that night before 18,707 fans as Dodger Stadium, giving up his first hit to Hall of Famer Barry Larkin. In his only other appearance that season, Martinez took the loss when he allowed two runs in a six-inning effort. The following year he went 10-5 with a 2.61 ERA.
The 1993 off season changed his career. Los Angeles offered second baseman Jody Reed a three-year $7.8 million dollar contract. Reed rejected the deal, leaving LA with a hole at second base. The Dodgers eyed Montreal 24-year old second sacker Delino DeShields.
The runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting in 1990, DeShields earned support in MVP balloting in ’92. By all accounts the speedy DeShields was an up-and-comer. Dodger GM Tommy Lasorda traded for DeShields to fill the hole left by Reed. The cost was high – future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez.
DeShields played three seasons in Los Angeles and hit .241. Martinez went on to become one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. He blossomed into a three-time Cy Young Award winner whose final baseball destination was Cooperstown. The trade goes down as one of the worst in Dodger history.
In the collection is ticket stub from Pedro Martinez’ big league debut, signed by the pitcher in the clubhouse the next day.
Saw him beat the O’s at Memorial Stadium. His FB hit 96, his changeup was in the low 70’s. Nobody could hit that.