NEW YORK -- In retrospect, Pedro Martinez was already on the decline when he arrived in Flushing after the 2004 season. He gave the Mets one elite season, in '05, though it was several shades less dominant than what he had accomplished in Boston. Injuries undermined Martinez after that and he never quite recovered.
Still, Martinez was a Met, and he always will be one, even with a Red Sox cap going on his Cooperstown plaque. When the Baseball Writers' Association of America overwhelmingly sent Martinez to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday, giving him 91.1 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot, they elected a player whose biography includes a significant detour into Queens. Martinez became the 14th player to wear a Mets uniform and make it to Cooperstown.
"Pedro Martinez's first-ballot selection to the Hall of Fame is a fitting tribute to his illustrious career," Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said in a statement. "During his time with us, he brought an air of professionalism to the field and to the locker room and was a source of excitement for our fans. We want to congratulate Pedro, his wife Carolina and the rest of the Martinez family on his historic day."
Already a likely Hall of Famer at that point of his career, Martinez left Boston after 2004 to join the Mets on a four-year, $53 million deal. He went 15-8 with a 2.82 ERA and was named to the All-Star team during his first year in Flushing, pitching alongside fellow future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine.
But despite earning another All-Star bid, Martinez made only 23 starts in 2006 and just five down the stretch in '07, as arm issues derailed his career. He returned to the mound for 20 starts in '08 but posted a 5.61 ERA, departing for Philadelphia after the season. Martinez appeared in just nine more games after leaving New York.
Over an 18-year career with the Dodgers, Expos, Red Sox, Mets and Phillies, Martinez went 219-100 with a 2.93 ERA, winning three Cy Young Awards and finishing in the top five on the ballot seven times.
Upon learning of his Hall of Fame election on Tuesday, Martinez went out of his way to credit Guy Conti, a longtime Mets advisor who first met Martinez in the early '90s while in Los Angeles. There, Martinez said, Conti helped him shuffle the grip on his changeup, which became the signature pitch of a Hall of Fame career.
"It's a great honor," Martinez said. "I dedicate it to every fan out there and every team that I played for."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.