Pedro Martinez calls dust-up with Don Zimmer the ‘only regret’ of his career
Pedro Martinez soberly addresses in his upcoming book an incident from his Hall of Fame career that even he recognizes as the one that perhaps with which he is most identified: His on-field dust-up with then-New York Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer.
In “Pedro,” Martinez discusses the fracas that ensued during Game 3 of the 2003 American League Championship Series between his Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees after Manny Ramirez took exception to a pitch from Roger Clemens and charged the mound. Benches cleared and chaos temporarily reigned.
During the confrontation between teams, Zimmer charged Martinez, who stepped aside and shoved Zimmer to the ground.
Martinez writes in his book that he regrets it ever happened (via an excerpt from “Pedro” published on SI.com):
“When 72-year-old Don Zimmer came barreling toward me, I wish I had not grabbed his head and pushed him to the Fenway grass as he stumbled and fell forward. Some days I feel more people remember me as the angry young man who pushed down a defenseless old man than as the pitcher who won three Cy Young Awards and a world title and wound up in the Hall of Fame. In my entire baseball career, my reaction to Zimmer’s charge is my only regret.”
Martinez obviously was known as something of an outrageous personality throughout his MLB career, but the brouhaha between himself and Zimmer nevertheless became his most infamous moment, if not one of the most infamous moments in MLB postseason history.
The entire Zimmer-Martinez incident had no winners, a fact established by the heartbreaking scene that occurred when the lifelong baseball man apologized for his role in what happened.
“I’m embarrassed at what happened,” Zimmer said as he fought back tears. “I’m embarrassed for the Yankees, the Red Sox, the fans, the umpires and my family.”
Martinez also apologized shortly afterward as well for the part he played in the incident.
Both men of course moved on from the ugliness of it all and continued their baseball careers. It is interesting, though, that it still seemingly haunts Martinez to this day.
(photo credit: AP)