Montreal Expos: Pedro Martinez and the Cy Young sayonara

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 15: Pedro Martinez #45 of the Montral Expos pitches during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 15, 1997 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 15: Pedro Martinez #45 of the Montral Expos pitches during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 15, 1997 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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Before Pedro Martinez was the HOF-caliber pitcher with the Boston Red Sox, he was winning a Cy Young pitching in an empty stadium for the Montreal Expos.

Randy Johnson began his career with the Montreal Expos, then was traded and won a host of Cy Young Awards. Cliff Lee was traded away before he could begin a career in Montreal, and he won a Cy Young Award. Pedro Martinez, on the other hand, earned his Cy Young in Montreal and took it with him when he left.

Pedro Martinez won sixty games his first three years in a Boston Red Sox uniform and two Cy Young Awards. He led the league in wins once, ERA and strikeouts twice, and was as dominant a pitcher as there was at the time.

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Later on, he won twenty games in a year again and then brought the first World Series title Boston had experienced in over eighty years.

Before any of that, he was pitching in the vast openness of Olympic Stadium in Montreal, in 1997. Martinez made 31 starts in ’97 and completed a major league-best 13 of them. He won his first eight decisions en route to 17 wins on the year. He struck out 305 hitters in 241 innings and he threw four shutouts.

Martinez lost eight games on the year and in five of them, the Expos scored one run or were held scoreless. In four of those games, Martinez allowed two or fewer runs and still lost.

In his last appearance of the year, Martinez pitched seven innings and allowed one run, left in a tie game and wound up with a no-decision. Twelve thousand fans were on hand that night in Montreal to see what they knew would be Pedro Martinez’s last game in an Expos uniform. Surely they knew he was going to win the Cy Young Award as well, which he did, handily over Greg Maddux.

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As the Montreal Expos headed into the offseason the storyline held as true as it had for years. Their best player was too expensive to keep. And that was all for Pedro Martinez as he was traded to Boston.