His career statistics – a 219-100 record and 3,154 strikeouts in 18 major league seasons – only begin to tell the story.

Pitching in an era tainted by steroids and ruled by bulked-up sluggers, Pedro Martinez dominated hitters like few others in baseball history.

And he did it with a swagger that endeared him to Boston Red Sox fans and made each of his starts at Fenway Park from 1998 to 2004 a special event.

Martinez will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, on Sunday, along with Randy Johnson, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio.

“How did I feel pitching in the juice era? I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Martinez said. “For me, there’s no crying. I mean, as far as the way I did compete, I know I did it right. I did it the right way.”

Born Oct. 25, 1971, on the outskirts of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, Martinez grew up with five brothers and sisters in a one-room home. Baseball became his escape. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988 and made his major league debut in 1992 at age 20. The next season he was a regular in the bullpen, posting a 10-5 record in 65 games while striking out 119 in 107 innings. He was traded to Montreal after the season.

After a four-year stint with the Expos that culminated with his first Cy Young Award (17-8 with a 1.90 ERA in 1997) and with free agency looming, Montreal traded its ace to Boston. And Martinez wasn’t exactly happy.

“I wanted a team that would give me an opportunity to win, and Boston wasn’t a team that looked anywhere near that they were going to win it, so I didn’t think I was going to sign,” he said.

Boston General Manager Dan Duquette had other ideas. He had acquired Martinez from the Dodgers while serving as GM with the Expos, and convinced him to sign a six-year, $75 million contract (with an option for a seventh year) with the Red Sox. At the time, it was the largest deal ever paid to a pitcher.

Martinez’s first start with Boston (seven shutout innings at Oakland on Opening Day in 1998) and his last (seven shutout innings in Game 3 of the 2004 World Series in St. Louis) provided perfect bookends for his seven remarkable seasons with the Red Sox.

He compiled a .760 winning percentage (117-37) with Boston, striking out more batters (1,683) than he allowed hits (1,044) and walks (309) combined. He won 23 games in 1999 and 20 in 2002 and appeared on four American League All-Star teams.

Martinez won Cy Young Awards in 1999 and 2000, leading the American League in ERA both seasons (2.07 and 1.74). As a measure of his dominance, the overall league ERAs during those hitter-friendly seasons were 4.86 and 4.91. His WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) in 2000 was 0.737, by far the best single-season mark in major league history.

With a slight frame – officially listed as 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds – for a power pitcher, he augmented his fastball with a devastating curveball and off-speed pitch.

“He’s so tiny. And I don’t know where he gets that speed from. That velocity is amazing,” Larry Walker, Martinez’s teammate in Montreal, told ESPN.

And about that swagger. After pitching eight shutout innings (with 13 strikeouts) against the New York on May 30, 2001, he launched into a famous tirade about the then one-sided Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.

“I’m starting to hate talking about the Yankees,” he told reporters at Fenway Park. “The questions are so stupid. They’re wasting my time. It’s getting kind of old.

“I don’t believe in damn curses. Wake up the damn Bambino and have me face him. Maybe I’ll drill him in the ass, pardon me the word.”

It would be two more years before Martinez and the Red Sox would break the Curse of the Bambino. In between he suffered a shoulder injury later in the 2001 season and a loss in velocity. He also failed to hold a 5-2 lead in the eighth inning of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, won by the Yankees in extra innings.

Martinez did not play a significant role in Boston’s historic 3-games-to-none comeback in the ALCS against the Yankees the next season. But in what would be his final start for Boston, he brought the Red Sox within a victory of what would be their first championship since 1918 as the winning pitcher in Game 3 of the 2004 World Series.

His contract up, Boston allowed Martinez to explore free agency after the season. He signed with the Mets and eventually finished his career with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009.

“It’s been a great ride,” he told the Boston Globe after the Red Sox swept the Cardinals. “I hope everybody enjoyed it as much as I did.”