EL MAMON, Dominican Republic — Pedro Martinez wraps his long, elegant fingers around the handle of a Stanley hammer, grabs a nail, and starts pounding away. He’s helping rebuild a rusty tin-and-plywood shack for an old woman who raised six children there by herself.
For Martinez, who had five brothers and sisters, it is a flashback to poverty.
“That brought me back to my days as a kid,” said the three-time Cy Young Award winner. “Seeing the wood, seeing how rotten it is. The smell of the house, the wind coming into the house. Everything.
“It was just like being back at home as a young boy, except I had both parents there.”
Martinez has shown up, unannounced, to help the 20 high school students from the US and the Dominican who have joined together to do community service and play baseball, part of the Lindos Suenos (Beautiful Dreams) program run by the Red Sox.
“I love doing this,” he said. “Honestly, I love it.”
Spend a day with the wildly impulsive Martinez and a portrait emerges of a Pied Piper, committed to helping his fellow Dominicans, one kid at a time. The Pedro Martinez and Brothers Foundation, headquartered on the outskirts of Santo Domingo, helps impoverished youths in his hometown of Manoguayabo. He is as passionate about it as he is about baseball.