Duking It Out With Pedro Martinez

Baseball was my life as a kid.

I lived in Albuquerque, so we didn't have a major league team.  We had the Dukes, who were the AAA farm team for the Dodgers.

We'd go to every game we could, anxiously bringing our little league gloves in the vain hope of catching a foul ball.  We cheered the home team, booed the umps and ate the hot dogs while watching the sun set on the Sandia mountains. Life was good, but the very best day was the day I met Eric Karros, Mike Piazza and Pedro Martinez.

All us kids* were lined up by the ramp leading from the locker room to the field. The Dukes ran out to start warming up. Some of the players strolled instead so they could meet fans and sign autographs.

Eric Karros and Mike Piazza were big shots. They knew they were headed for the big leagues, so they wouldn't sign autographs. However, they weren't so full of themselves that they wouldn't shake hands and say hello. All the kids were mobbing them, but I noticed one other player standing off by himself. Nobody was crowding Pedro Martinez because he was an unknown with little playing time.

I waltzed over and asked him for his autograph. Or, more accurately, I asked him for his brother's autograph. His brother, Ramón Martinez, was playing for the Dodgers at the time. Pedro didn't speak much English, so it got interesting.

Me: Here! Sign 'Ramón'!
Pedro: *Slapping his chest* Soy Pedro. 
Me: Yeah, yeah, I know. Sign 'Ramón'. 
Pedro: Soy Pedro! 
Me: Sign 'Ramón'!

He signed 'Ramón Martinez'. Then below it he signed 'Pedro Martinez'.

Then he ran on to the field, got traded and became one of the best things to happen to the Boston Red Sox. You're welcome, Baseball.

*Me use good grammar

What sports were you into growing up? Share some stories!