Throughout his career Hall of Famer Pedro Martínez acknowledged his brother’s encouragement as a major factor in his success.
They grew up poor in the Dominican Republic, throwing rocks at mango trees and using makeshift equipment. When the Dodgers signed Ramón, Pedro tagged along to the practice camp, playing catch with his brother and getting noticed by the coaches. When he eventually played for the Dodgers, alongside his brother, it was a dream come true. After one very good season, he was traded to the Montreal Expos, where his prodigious skills make him a superstar. He went on to the Boston Red Sox, where he and Ramón were again teammates for two seasons. In 1999 the brothers both won games in the playoffs, causing dancing in the streets in the Dominican Republic. Tavares builds the story one incident at a time, employing the present tense in brief, poetic sentences. He describes the baseball action with enthusiasm but keeps the focus on Pedro’s gregarious personality, his work ethic, his generosity and his special relationship with his brother. Watercolor, gouache and pencil illustrations depict the emotional fervor of the action. Oddly, the Red Sox’s long-awaited World Series victory in 2004 and Pedro’s dedication to improving conditions in his homeland are only mentioned in an author’s note.
A warm portrait of a modern baseball icon. (statistics, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 8-12)