Celebrity Drive: Pedro Martinez, Baseball Hall of Famer and MLB Network Analyst
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Quick Stats: Pedro Martinez, Hall of Famer/MLB Network analyst
Although Pedro Martinez is a three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series champion, this Boston Red Sox legend recalls the day he picked up his 1993 Toyota Celica GT during his rookie year more vividly than the day he started his professional baseball career with the Dodgers.
“I don’t remember as much about my debut in the big leagues as I remember when I got my first car. I remember everything. Everything. How I looked at the car, how I went in, I didn’t even want to drive it, my brother drove it,” referring to his brother Ramón. “I just wanted to see whether he considered it was OK for me or not.”
These days, with cars at his Miami and Dominican Republic homes, Martinez’s daily driver is his 2017 Range Rover because it can suit different occasions.
“I like the power, I like the interior. The radio, technology, all those things are really up to date, really good,” says Martinez, now an analyst at MLB Network.
There’s room to improve, however, as he rates it an 8 on a scale of 10. “I wish I had more space. It looks so big, but when you go into the interior,” he says, “it’s so small.”
Martinez’s Range Rover is also a hybrid. “I know it saves gas and all that, but the fact that [the engine stops and starts] by itself is annoying to me,” he says.
He chose the Range Rover for the safety factor. “They’re very safe cars that can be exposed to pretty much anything, and that’s an SUV you can take off-road,” he says, adding that the versatile SUV can also “be a luxury car if you want it to be … and you’ll still look good.”
2007 Hummer H2
Martinez has kept this Hummer because of its dual-function truck/SUV body style and its capabilities. “It gives me so much flexibility because it’s a pickup truck in the back so you can haul,” he says. “You can off-road, you can feel that you’re secure and in such a tall vehicle. Every aspect is really good about it, [and] it’s fast enough. I feel so tall on top of it. Nice leather.”
But some of the drawbacks include its gas consumption. “I wish it was [more efficient]. Some of the stuff that comes inside—like plastic, I wish it was stronger material,” he says, adding that he also changed the stereo system.
2002 Ferrari 360 Modena
A sports superstar needs a proper supercar in his garage at least once in his life. For Martinez, who was at the peak of his career with the Red Sox, it was this Modena. But he says it’ll probably be his first and last Ferrari.
“That car is like an orchid. You really have to pamper this car, you have to really be on top of it,” Martinez said. “It’s a convertible; you have to consistently open the top and bring it back down. You have to run it, you have to keep it moving. Every time you run it more than 70 miles, you have to check the oil. It’s a really sensitive car. That car is a prima donna.”
Martinez would rate his Ferrari a 9 for looks, but considering how much he has to maintain it, he gives it a 7 overall. Sometimes he can go three months without driving it, and it’s only logged around 11,000 miles. “I travel a lot, so when I’m not there, sooner or later something pops up,” he says. “I drive it as a hobby.
2007 Mercedes-Benz S550
Martinez rates his S550 a perfect 10 for safety and comfort. “The interior, the look, everything is really good about this car. After I married my wife, I figured she would look good in a car like that, so I went and got it for her.”
He says they both drive the S550, but that no matter what car he’s in, there’s always a lot of traffic in Miami. “Early in the morning, [there’s] a lot of traffic jams, and also, after 3:00 in the afternoon, there’s a lot of traffic jams all over the highway,” he says.
Last year, Martinez was on an episode of Discovery’s Diesel Brothers. He told them what he’d like in a car, if they designed one for him;
“I’m crazy about colors, stereo, technology,” he says. “I’ve been a fan of cars that are powerful. The security in the car, how to stay safe is really important to me. Speed is not a big deal, but yes, you need some speed. I’m not a speedster. I’m someone [who’s] very conservative when it comes to cars.”
Car He Learned to Drive in
Martinez learned to drive in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo in Great Falls, Montana, where he lived briefly early in his baseball career.
“I just know it was 1990,” Martinez says, recalling only the year he drove it. “The lady I used to live with owned one, and she would only bring it out on Sundays. So she took me around in it,” he says.
As with baseball, Martinez was serious about learning to drive that Monte Carlo. “It was a powerful car. I used to love going around with her, and Great Falls is such a quiet town. I took my time to go around with her and learn all the new things that I had to learn,” he says. “It was a pretty cool car. I was just looking forward and trying to stay out of trouble, not to lose my way. I was too busy looking at how to go forward and where I needed to turn to make a stop and all that.”
Out of the three Dominican guys in the house, he was the only one who was allowed to drive the Monte Carlo.
“So I was like the little baby of the house,” he says, laughing. “And they were jealous because they wanted to drive it, they wanted to go around in it, and they weren’t allowed. They didn’t behave as much as I did. I spent two and a half months there, the lady was like a mother to me. …. That’s why I really enjoyed my time in the Monte Carlo, because I was a little spoiled in the house.”
Logging time in the Monte Carlo helped him pass his driver’s test in Florida the next year. He didn’t learn how to drive in the Dominican Republic, where he used to walk 6 miles each day to school.
“I used to walk a lot. But now, I’ll give a 10 to my legs! No car can outlast my legs when it comes to miles,” he says. “Even though I probably learned at a high school age, it’s not common that you see a poor person from the Dominican Republic have a car at 17. No way. Only in a very rich family, and normally baseball players don’t come from rich families.”
First Car Bought
Martinez bought a new 1993 Toyota Celica GT when he was in his rookie year, playing for the Dodgers. “My brother was a pro on cars by that time, and he started introducing me to the rims and little details on the car: the spoilers, the stereo, how it would look better, so many little details on the car,” he says referring to his brother Ramón. “I pampered myself with that car. Cherry red, it was beautiful.”
He couldn’t buy the car right when he got to the Dodgers. “I had to pretty much wait for two or three checks to then go and get my car, but my brother was already established in the big leagues so he was making pretty good money to buy whatever car he wanted,” he says.
Martinez left the Celica at the shop to get detailed but let his brother test-drive it. “My brother took it because he knew more about cars than I did, so he was telling me if it was safe for me and also a car that I should consider keeping,” he says. “I just wanted my brother to OK it because he was older, he was wiser.”
In the car, Martinez was all smiles, both in Los Angeles and then later (after the season was over) when he took it back to the Dominican Republic, where it turned heads. “It did, and so did I,” he says, with a laugh. “Even though I’m not good-looking, I got a lot of looks because of the car. Believe me, I was really happy with my car when I got back, everybody was looking at my car,” he says. “My car was so cute, it was the only one in the country at the time I got it in to the Dominican.”
He explains that the Dominican Republic got cars much later after the model year than in the U.S. “Back then you rarely saw a car that was a car of the [latest model] year, unless you were really rich and you went and bought it in the States and brought it over.”
He kept the Celica for three years. “I fell in love with my little car. I would clean it myself,” he says. “Every time it got a little dirty I was in the car wash right away or washing it myself. I remember taking my Turtle Wax and I used to shine it myself and take care of the interior.”
He saw the Celica as more of a practical car, but for his first splurge car, he opted for an American vehicle. “Back in those days, I used to have a Jeep Wrangler, and I really detailed that Jeep to make it an off-road car and also to go to the beach and pull the WaveRunners that I had.”
The Ferrari would, of course, be another splurge later. “My brother bought one, so he convinced me to buy another one. I had some bonuses for doing well in baseball, so I pampered myself with a Ferrari,” he says.
Favorite Road Trip
Martinez’s favorite road trip is the one from Helena to Great Falls, Montana. “It’s absolutely gorgeous,” he says. “That’s one that I would like to repeat. The scenery, the mountains, and the lakes. The wheat fields, it was golden and I used to go and look at those fields, totally golden, when we were passing by.”
Back then, Martinez had to go from town to town for baseball. “After I got my car, I really got into the habit of driving from one province to the next, like I live in Santo Domingo, but I would drive across to Santiago, San Pedro, all those places, and I really got hooked to do that.”
He’s also driven a lot around other parts of the country, like from New York to Boston, and from Miami to Tampa, Orlando, and Sarasota. “I love taking those long drives,” he says.
Martinez has yet to do a cross-country road trip. “That’s on my bucket list, though. I would love to do it by train first, and just stop by any city anywhere, backpack and all, until I finally end up somewhere in Alaska,” he says. “And stopping anywhere, spending the night anywhere.”
Although he admits he’s a “spoiled Bostonian” because he still gets a lot of love from the fans there, Martinez has happily been at MLB Network as an analyst for three years. “It’s like my place to actually continue to play baseball without playing it. This is my man cave away from home,” he laughs, talking to us from MLB Network’s Secaucus studio.
2nd Annual “Feast with 45” at Fenway Park on June 29
Martinez will host local sports names and chefs at Fenway Park tonight from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The festival raises money for Martinez’s charity to help children here and in the Dominican Republic.
“It’s 45 chefs from all over the U.S. coming to feed everybody,” he says. “What I like is the fact that we can actually raise some opportunities for people, opening doors for people less fortunate, and I’m doing this to add to the legacy of helping the community, and I’m expecting a lot of people to come and support it,” he says.
“We’ll be here to make sure we raise enough money to build a charter school, so when I talk about opportunities, it’s because I’m a product of an opportunity and I was able to maximize, and so I want to open doors to people through education, to give someone an opportunity to become someone like you and me and become a better human being.”
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June 29, 2018 at 04:09AM
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