The Story Behind Pedro Martinez’s Iconic No. 45 Jersey


No member of the Boston Red Sox will ever wear the No. 45 again.

Aside from being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Pedro Martinez received the highest honor a ballplayer can get on Tuesday night at Fenway Park. The No. 45 jersey which he wore so proudly during his time in Boston was forever retired to the right field facade, joining the likes of Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Rice.

Upon completion of Martinez’s grand number-retirement ceremony, the great Red Sox hurler took some time to talk to the media. Among the topics he discussed was the meaning behind the No. 45. The Dominican legend shared a truly unique story.

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Growing up, Pedro adored his brother Ramon, idolizing him in every way. Ramon wore the No. 48 during the 1992 season in which Pedro was first called up to the Majors by the Los Angeles Dodgers. And understandably so, Pedro wanted to wear the No. 47, the next closest jersey number to his brother.

That wasn’t possible. The No. 47 jersey was already taken and No. 46 was as well. Martinez ultimately settled for No. 45, the same number as Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson. When it was all said and done, Martinez joined Gibson in the Hall as the best pitchers to ever wear the number. Of course as just 20-year-old starting out, Martinez had no clue the number would go down in Red Sox infamy.

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“If you look at our histories, there’s something linked between me and Bob Gibson. Mad men on the mound. Men of low ERAs. And I was pretty much the same way and we were wearing the same number,” Martinez told reporters following the ceremony.

“That’s the number the Dodgers gave me and I never got rid of it,” Martinez added.

Martinez wore the No. 45 as a member of the Montreal Expos as well. He finished his career in Boston in 2004 and finally retired at the age of 37 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.