Two outs in the ninth. Montreal Expo pitcher Pedro Martinez peers at the hitter, Quilvio Veras of the Florida Marlins. Martinez's nerves are more jangled than they were when he threw nine perfect innings last month.
"Come on, Quilvio, strike out!" he shouts, knowing full well that Veras is out of earshot—by about 2,200 miles. Martinez is sitting in front of a television set in the Montreal apartment of teammate and fellow Dominican Henry Rodriguez, drinking Presidente—the beer of his homeland—and working up all his telepathic power to help his older brother, Dodger pitcher Ramon Martinez, close out a no-hitter against the Marlins in Los Angeles. "Let's go!" urges Pedro, who only hours earlier pitched Montreal to an 8-2 win over Philadelphia while shrinking his ERA to 2.94, eighth-best in the National League.
Last winter, Veras played on the same Dominican softball team as Pedro, 23, and Ramon, 27. Veras works the count to 2 and 2. Then he lifts a soft fly ball into left-field, where Roberto Kelly squeezes it in his glove to finish off the first no-hitter of the season. In Montreal, Pedro leaps into the air. In Los Angeles, Ramon, with tears pooling in his eyes, jumps into the arms of catcher Mike Piazza.
Have you overlooked what's going on this year with the major leagues' sizable Martinez clan? That would be a no-no. Ramon's no-hitter last Friday night underscored this truism: The alphabet, insomnia and the hottest name in baseball all end in z's. Consider that, besides brothers Pedro and Ramon, who have each answered the Hall of Fame's call for an autographed ball this season, these other standouts—unrelated but not unremarkable—also are named Martinez:
•In Cleveland, Dennis was 8-0 for the Indians at week's end and had the American League's second-lowest ERA (2.47). He is making a bid for his first Cy Young Award despite the fact that he's a 40-year-old grandfather and a former alcoholic.
•In Seattle, Edgar was leading the American League in hitting with a .361 average through Sunday. The Mariner designated hitter, who won his first batting title in 1992, has returned to prominence after two seasons spoiled by injury.
•Playing alongside Edgar is Tino, a first-time American League All-Star this year (replacing the injured Mark McGwire of the Oakland As). Tino had 58 RBIs at week's end, the fifth-highest total in the league.
That's not all. Angel Martinez is establishing himself as the Toronto Blue Jays' catcher of the future. Dave Martinez is a spare outfielder with the Chicago White Sox. Carlos Martinez, who spent last year playing in a Venezuelan summer league, has resurfaced as an infielder with the California Angels, for whom he is unlikely to surpass his career highlight: He was the White Sox' first baseman on Aug. 1,1990, when the club called up somebody named Frank Thomas to replace him.
Before the Houston Astros sent "the other Pedro Martinez," a lefthanded pitcher referred to in box scores as P.A. Martinez, to the minor leagues on July 1, all six divisions included at least one Martinez. When P.A. arrived in Triple A, he joined 17 other Martinezes who are playing for full-season minor league clubs, including—now pay close attention—pitcher Jesus Martinez, a 21-year-old Dodger prospect and the brother of Pedro and Ramon; and another Ramon Martinez, an infielder in the Marlin system who is not related to Pedro and Jesus but who is the brother of Jose Martinez, a former big league pitcher now back in the minors. (Those 17 minor Martinezes do not include another Dennis Martinez, the 0-1 son of the undefeated dad of the same name. Young Dennis is pitching for the Burlington Indians, a short-season rookie league team in Vermont, after being drafted in the 42nd round by his father's employer.)
But enough of such minor matters. At the major league level, three of the past six National League, pitchers to throw nine no-hit innings are named Martinez, with Ramon and Pedro joining Dennis, who threw a perfect game in Dodger Stadium on July 28, 1991—which happened to be the 31st birthday of Carmelo Martinez, the former big leaguer who is the cousin of Edgar Martinez, who never fully recovered last year from being hit on the wrist Opening Day by a pitch from Dennis Martinez, who has plunked more batters over the past three seasons (25) than the more notorious brushback pitcher Pedro Martinez (21), who....