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Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez wanted to play for the Yankees

Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez celebrates after

Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez celebrates after Boston defeated the Yankees, 10-3, in the deciding game of the AL Championship Series Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2004. Credit: AP

Pedro Martinez the closer?

The Cooperstown-bound pitcher, who spent 18 MLB seasons between five teams, including the Red Sox, Mets and Expos, discussed the hypothetical in a Hall of Fame conference call last Thursday.

Martinez was a setup man with the Dodgers in 1993, making 63 relief appearances in 65 games that year. He was 10-5 during that time with two saves in three opportunities.

The 5-11, 170-pound righthander was traded to the Expos soon after and blossomed into a dominant starter. But could he have been a great closer?

"I won't say I could be Mariano Rivera because Mariano is the best I've ever seen at doing that," Martinez said. "But, I would say that I was given two opportunities to close games by the Dodgers and both of them were with bases loaded. You never know. I would have to be given the opportunity to close games. And every time I was given a game to close, I did close it."

Rivera came to be a respected and familiar opponent when Martinez went to Boston in 1998. Martinez was 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA in seven dominant years with the Red Sox. He led the AL in ERA four times while with Boston. The eight-time All-Star and three-time Cy Young winner was a key part of Boston's 2004 World Series championship.

But if Martinez had his way, he and Rivera wouldn't have been on opposite sides.

"I wanted a team like the Yankees. I wanted a team like Baltimore," Martinez said when asked about his move from the Expos to Red Sox. "I wanted a team that would give me an opportunity to win. And Boston wasn't a team that looked anywhere near [ready] to win it."

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