A couple of items from Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez’s autobiography, Pedro (by Martinez and Michael Silverman):
The first excerpt is Martinez talking about what led to his first MLB start.
Even though I never had any physical issues with my right shoulder while I was a Dodger, I sensed that there was more to me being parked in the bullpen and not in the rotation. They said they did not have a vacancy there, but things got weird.
In the middle of September, the Dodgers did ask me to start, in Colorado. It was Tom Candiotti’s turn, but either he or the Dodgers or both decided that a knuckleballer at mile-high altitude was a bad idea. So they told me I’d get my first big-league start at Coors Field. And I had nothing—I blew up like a balloon. Maybe it was pitching on five days’ rest after five months of pitching every other or every day, maybe it was the thin air, maybe it was both.
—Page 78, Pedro
When Martinez then was traded from the Expos to the Red Sox, he made his Boston debut on Opening Day in 1998 against Candiotti and the Athletics in Oakland.
The Athletics started my old Dodgers teammate, the knuckleballer Tom Candiotti. … Seeing Candiotti also reminded me how he was the starter who Tommy Lasorda decided to rest late in the 1992 season, when we were in Colorado and Tommy thought the Coors Field bandbox would be a good place to make my first major league start.
—Page 138, Pedro
Well, that’s very convenient, blaming the knuckleballing Candiotti for his having to get lit up in Colorado.
- At the time, the Rockies played at Mile High Stadium, not Coors Field.
- Martinez’s first start was in 1993, but for some reason “1992” was written on page 138.
- And finally, Tom Candiotti didn’t bail out of his start in Colorado. A simple check on Baseball-Reference.com reveals that Candiotti actually pitched earlier in the series, so Pedro obviously misremembered and nobody bothered to fact-check. Just blame the knuckleballer, right?
And besides, if you’ve read Tom Candiotti: A Life of Knuckleballs, you would already know that Candiotti’s start in Colorado late in that 1993 season was one of the reasons the knuckleball specialist lost the National League ERA title that year!
But to blame a knuckleball pitcher for your failures…it seems that’s what always happens.