All-Star Major League Baseball pitcher Pedro Martinez had an emotional family reunion at the National Portrait Gallery March 25. Martinez was joined by his wife, his children, older brother Ramon and their extended family as his portrait was unveiled at a ceremony also attended by Martin Sullivan, the director of the museum; Roberto Saladín, ambassador of the Dominican Republic; artist Susan Miller-Havens; and Peter and Gloria Gammons, who donated the portrait.
The 40-year-old pitcher became the youngest of more than 50 baseball figures depicted on the Portrait Gallery’s walls and the fourth Latino—joining Juan Marichal (the only baseball Hall of Famer from the Dominican Republic), the late Roberto Clemente and Sammy Sosa.
Martinez choked up during the ceremony as he recalled his late father Paolino. “I cannot really express with words how much joy I feel right now,” Martinez said during the dedication ceremony. “I’ve been in tough games…really,really tough games, but I’ve never felt this much emotion in any of the games as I’m feeling right now.”
“My dad passed away two years ago in July and I’ve never had my family all together before so this was my first chance to say in public how much I appreciate what they have done for me,” Martinez said after the ceremony. “I guess the moment just got me. A whole lot of emotion came out that I didn’t really expect.”
Born in the Dominican Republic , Martinez has been an American citizen since 2006. He was impressive in his debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers in September 1992 and will always be remembered for the seven-year period when he established, in the words of baseball commentator Peter Gammons, “the most dominant stretch of any pitcher in baseball history.” He is an eight-time All Star and a three-time Cy Young Award winner (1997, 1999 and 2000). He has pitched for five teams in his career, most recently with the Philadelphia Phillies. In addition, Martinez was a member of the World Series-winning Red Sox in 2004.
Ambassador Saladin praised Martinez for his devotion to helping children in his two countries, the Dominican Republic and the United States. Saladin called Martinez “an artist with his arm.”
“Baseball is ingrained in the soul of our country,” Saladin continued, saying that Martinez is “an icon and a role model.”
Miller-Havens painted the 57-inch by 21-inch portrait, “El Orgullo y la Determinacion” (“Pride and Determination”), in 2000 with oil and beeswax on Baltic birch. The Portrait Gallery’s collection includes another painting by Miller-Havens of former Major League Baseball catcher Carlton Fisk.
The portrait was installed in the museum’s “Recent Acquisitions” gallery. This is the first portrait of a pitcher in the collection.
Video via USTREAM
Posted: 29 March 2011