Pedro Martinez says Don Zimmer incident only blemish he'd erase from career

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Pedro Martinez shares only blemish he wishes he could erase from career originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Pedro Martinez doesn't have much to regret from his 18-year career in MLB.

The Hall of Famer won three Cy Young Awards, made eight All-Star teams and won the 2004 World Series in his final season with the Boston Red Sox.

But there is one blemish Martinez wishes he could scrub -- a moment he said where he hasn't felt worse in his life: the altercation between himself and New York Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer in Game 3 of the 2003 American League Championship Series.

"In reality, that's the only blemish I would love to erase from my career," Martinez said in a video featured on Bleacher Report. "There hasn't been any other moment where I felt worse in my life."

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Martinez, 32 years old at the time, recalled the incident vividly in which the 72-year-old Zimmer came rushing towards him when the benches cleared in the aftermath of Roger Clemens throwing at Manny Ramirez in the bottom of the fourth inning.

"I hear the mumbling kind of behind me, and I see Zimmer rushing towards me and I'm like, what?" Martinez said. "And that's when he got close to me, said some bad words that I didn't expect from Zimmer either. He actually tried to jab me. So I pulled it, and that's why it looks like I grabbed him."

Clemens had thrown at Ramirez as retaliation for Martinez throwing behind Yankees outfielder Karim Garcia in the top half of the fourth. But, as Martinez explained, why would he throw at someone at the bottom of New York's order in a one-run game? Plus, his shoulder was aching at the time, he said.

"I just said, 'what are you thinking?'" Martinez recalls telling Garcia, who had taken out Red Sox second baseman Todd Walker with a hard slide. "Who wants to hit you? You're crazy. Clean it up.

"So [Jorge] Posada popped up, Zimmer popped up. Everybody started yapping on me. But when I went in, got the inning done, Roger Clemens throws the ball at Manny."

Martinez, who said he was in the bathroom when the melee began, made up for lost time when he was discovered by Zimmer in a takedown which has lived in infamy.

The Red Sox would go on to lose the game, 4-3, as well as the series to the Yankees in seven games after Aaron Boone's walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th of Game 7 off Tim Wakefield.

Boston bounced back a year later, however, coming back from three games down in the ALCS to eliminate New York en route to its first World Series title in 86 years.

Many would say that the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry hasn't been the same since.