Having won the N.L. award in 1997 with Montreal, Pedro Martínez of the Boston Red Sox became only the third major leaguer to win the award in both leagues, joining Gaylord Perry and Randy Johnson, whose N.L. award was announced a day earlier. Pedro also became only the fourth American Leaguer to win the award unanimously.
His 1999 season was one of the best in history, especially considering the offensive era baseball’s in right now. Pedro went 23-4, with a 2.07 ERA and a club record 313 strikeouts. He struck out 15 or more batters 6 times, including 17 in a one-hitter against the New York Yankees on September 10. He allowed only 37 walks (the lowest total in history for a member of the 300-strikeout club!) and gave up only 9 home runs, none of them with runners on base.
To put it in perspective:
His ERA of 2.07 was 1.37 points lower than the 3.44 of league runner-up David Cone of the Yankees, and 2.80 lower than the league average. There have been just two other occasions – Dazzy Vance in 1930 and Greg Maddux in 1994 – when the pitcher with the league’s best ERA was more than a run better than the runner-up. Pedro struck out 313 batters, 113 more than runner-up Chuck Finley of the Angels. Opponents batted a league-low .205 against him, 70 points below the league average. He averaged 13.2 strikeouts per nine innings, more than five more a game than runner-up Finley, and his 1.6 walks per nine innings were just behind Gil Heredia of Oakland (1.5). In this age of offense, Pedro was able to completely dominate the league.
Manager Jimy Williams says, “It’s pretty special just to have the opportunity to watch this man pitch every game. I’ve seen guys win games but not with the strikeouts. All kinds of different pitches. I’ve never seen anything like this. You see him one time, and you say, ‘Wow, look at that!’ But how many times have you seen him do this? I really don’t know how you can put in perspective what we’re seeing out here.”