SWANSEA — Boston Red Sox Pedro Martinez was the celebrity speaker for the UMass Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research’s 19th annual Celebrity/Scholarship Dinner on May 1 at the Venus de Milo Restaurant.
The dinner highlighted the center’s work and helped UMD students to stay in school by awarding scholarships. To date, approximately $230,000 has been awarded to more than 300 students, according to a news release.
BayCoast Bank and the family of Frank B. Sousa Jr. sponsored the event.
Martínez played in Major League Baseball from 1992 to 2009, for five teams — most notably the Boston Red Sox from 1998 to 2004. An eight-time All-Star, Martínez was at his peak from 1997 to 2003, establishing himself as one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history.
Martinez spoke about his passion for giving back to help others.
“It’s more than playing baseball,” he said. “Baseball was the opportunity to do other things. It’s all one package. Through baseball, I can now help young people succeed and that is very important to my wife Carolina and me.”
Martínez received a citation from the Senate, presented by State Sen. Michael Rodrigues, acknowledging his contributions to Boston, the 2004 World Series, and his continues community involvement. UMD Baseball Coach Bob Prince brought some of his team to the stage to give him a hat and jersey and invite him to play for the team. Instead, he demonstrated some of his pitching secrets with the students, according to the release.
Jim Mullins, Compliance Officer for UMassD Athletics, led a question and answer session followed by questions from the audience. The crowd of 500 ended the night with a standing ovation for Martinez. Then, 8×10 autographed glossies of Martinez were available to be purchased.