Pedro Martinez is taking on a new challenge, building the Dominican Republic’s first sports charter school

Red Sox

“Education gives you the confidence to face the world. That’s what I want for the next generation. That’s what I want for my legacy.”

Pedro Martinez. Barry Chin/Globe Staff
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Nearly two decades ago, after pitching in Game 2 of the 2004 ALCS, Pedro Martinez gave a memorable quote about his childhood.

He recalled sitting under a mango tree without 50 cents to take for the bus as he grew up in a shack in the Dominican Republic. His hard work and pitching talent caused him to be the “center of attention” in New York City on more than one occasion.

“As soon as you bring that quote back, I go right back to the shack,” Martinez told Boston.com. “That’s why I appreciate the people who follow what we intend to do. Because it exposes where we come from. It exposes why we do things.”

For decades, he’s been dedicated to creating opportunities for people both in Boston and his native country. He now ensures that kids involved in his programs don’t need that 50 cents for the bus.

“For us, it’s painful. You don’t want to relive those moments,” Martinez continued. “I don’t want to see kids go through the struggles of not having 50 cents to take the bus. But, guess what? Right now, at the foundation, the kids are going on buses that we own. So they don’t need to walk the six miles that I did to go to school.”

So, what’s next for Martinez? His foundation, the Pedro Martinez Foundation, is building a state-of-the-art charter school in the Dominican Republic. The school will feature technical and vocational training that will prepare students for careers related to, but not necessarily dependent on playing sports.

The school is about halfway finished, said Carolina Cruz de Martinez, president of The Pedro Martinez Foundation and wife of Pedro. The foundation will continue to raise funds at its seventh annual gala at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel on Nov. 10.

“This is going to be the first sports charter school in the Dominican Republic,” Cruz de Martinez said. “What that means is that we’re going to offer five different certified diplomas for the kids who come out. They’re going to be able to find technical opportunities in places where their services are going to be needed, for example as a massage therapist. They’re also going to come out as first aid trainees and sports chefs and nutritionists.”

“So, it’s going to be a pioneer charter school because we don’t have that model in the Dominican Republic,” Cruz de Martinez continued. “And the reason we’re doing it this way and with this curriculum, it’s because we have a lot of kids that do want to become baseball players but they fall short. There’s only so many spots. So if they’re able to find a job in the sports industry because of the technical and vocational training that they’re going to get form the charter school, then that’s great.”

Building a school in the Dominican Republic has been a lifelong dream for the Hall-of-Fame pitcher. He also credits his new career in television broadcasting for enhancing his perspective on why education is so important.

“Baseball came naturally,” Martinez said. “Being on TV was an adjustment. Why did I make it? Because I was educated enough to understand what I needed to do. I’m slowly making the transition and I don’t feel intimidated because I have the confidence that I can make the adjustments. Education gives you the confidence to face the world. That’s what I want for the next generation. That’s what I want for my legacy”

At age 51, Martinez says the work his foundation is doing keeps him energized and excited for the future.

“We’re trying to do as much as we can until I can’t do anything else,” Martinez said. “After that, I can hang my head high and sit under that mango tree, hang with my chickens, feed my birds, and walk away. That’s what I want to do. Plain and simple.”


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