An emotional night in Montreal for Pedro Martinez has triggered an emotional response from a current major-leaguer that idolized him.
The Hall of Fame pitcher was honored prior to Friday's contest in Montreal between the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox, and after he received a rousing ovation from Montrealers, Martinez took some time to talk about one of his favorite up-and-coming players.
"He's a little stronger than I was. This kid has so much talent, he doesn't need to be any taller," Martinez raved about Blue Jays Opening Day starter Marcus Stroman during the live broadcast. "I totally relate (to him). He has as big of a heart as anybody in baseball. I love watching him pitch."
Stroman, who stands 5-foot-8 and weighs 180 pounds, didn't make the trip north for the Montreal exhibition series, but was watching the broadcast intently.
"Crazy to hear that the only pitcher I idolize and watch tape on enjoys watching me pitch. Appreciate you @PedroMartinez! @BlueJays #HDMH," Stroman tweeted.
Martinez took it one step further, telling Blue Jays announcers that Stroman was eventually going to be better than he was.
"Wow. Pedro really said that? I'm in awe right now. For real," Stroman responded.
Martinez, a three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star, set the precedent for undersized major-league hurlers with his feisty demeanor on the mound over 18 dominant seasons, resulting in his induction to Cooperstown last summer.
Stroman - who uses the hashtag "HDMH" to signify his motto: "Height Doesn't Measure Heart" - is entering his third big-league season, and has compiled a 15-6 record with a 3.31 ERA in 30 career appearances.
He'll oppose Rays ace Chris Archer when Toronto opens its season Sunday in Tampa Bay.