Originally created 11/04/99

Martinez named AP Player of the Year



NEW YORK -- Pedro Martinez overwhelmingly won The Associated Press Major League Player of the Year award Wednesday after a dominating season that saw him lead the big leagues in wins and ERA.

The Boston Red Sox pitcher received 56 votes in nationwide balloting by sports writers and broadcasters. The second-place finisher, Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones, got just 14 votes -- one-fourth the total that Martinez received.

Cleveland outfielder Manny Ramirez was the only other player to reach double digits, getting 12 votes.

Martinez, a 28-year-old right-hander, was in his native Dominican Republic and was not immediately available for comment.

He became the first Boston player to win the award, going 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA in 31 starts and striking out a league-leading 313 batters in 213 1-3 innings.

He is only the second pitcher to win the award, which began in 1988, joining Atlanta's Greg Maddux, the 1995 winner.

Martinez, traded from Montreal to Boston in November 1997, was the anchor of the Red Sox, who won the AL wild-card and upset Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs before losing to the New York Yankees.

When he strained a back muscle and left in the fourth inning of Boston's postseason opener, Cleveland rallied to win.

But the Red Sox came back to win the series 3-2, with Martinez pitching six hitless innings in Game 5. He entered in the fourth inning with the score 8-8, and the Red Sox went on to win 12-8.

"Once I got in, that's all I needed. I wouldn't come out," Martinez said then. "I wasn't going to let go. I wasn't going to."

Martinez then beat Roger Clemens 12-1 in Game 3 of the AL Championship Series, the only loss for the Yankees in their last 19 postseason games. Martinez struck out 12 in seven shutout innings, a Boston record for the postseason.

He didn't allow a runner past first in his final 14 1-3 playoffs innings, with hitters going 2-for-45 (.044) against him with two singles, five walks and 22 strikeouts.

And because of the back injury, he was pitching without his best fastball.

"I'm hurting in every pitch I throw," he said. "But it doesn't matter how much I hurt. If I can throw the ball over, and get one out and get the team to win a game, I'm going to do it. That's what I'm here for."