The National Portrait Gallery Permanent Collection The Smithsonian Institution Washington D.C.
Hall of Fame Pitcher Pedro J. Martinez "Susan’s painting holds a secret, one that by now I don’t think will surprise anyone who has read this deeply into the book.Before Susan gave the mound its final layer of deep dioxide purple paint, she painted a cluster of bougainvillea flowers, known as trinitaria in the Dominican Republic, on the ground. Each bougainvillea has a small white flower in the center, and it is surrounded by paper thin petals, which Susan painted orange, magenta, and purple, with sap green for the leaves.Nobody ever associated me with flowers while I was standing on a baseball mound with a ball in my hands. Staring down the batter with the cold eyes of an assassin and the unseen heart of a lion, I was ready to wreak the baseball equivalent of murder against the batter.The softer side of me stayed hidden, like Susan’s flowers.Behind every big-league pitcher stands the real person, each with his own story to tell of resilience and an offering of hope. Mine is the story of a young boy and then a man who overcame his demons, fought his battles, overcame the doubters, and ignored the taunts and jeers of the fans who acted as if they knew the man in front of them, the man who lived, loved, cried, and laughed his way from the humblest beginning to this blessed present. From the mango tree to the top of the world.
A ball in my hand, flowers at my feet. "