In the summer of 1990, while the cross-division Reds were running wire-to-wire toward a World Series championship, the Los Angeles Dodgers were trying to keep pace in the there-and-then while focusing on a brighter future.

That future crashed right into the 1990 season in the form of young righthander Ramon Martinez, who had been the darling of scouts and pundits pretty much ever since he signed with L.A. as an amateur free agent in 1984.

At just 22 years of age, Martinez made his supporters look really smart in 1990 — twenty wins against just six losses, held up by a 2.92 ERA landed him a second-place finish in the National League Cy Young Award voting (behind Doug Drabek).

But while Ramon was tearing up NL batters, the Dodgers had even more “future” on the way, and closer than might have been expected from a timing perspective.

See, that was the summer that Ramon’s younger brother, Pedro, made his professional debut for the Dodgers after signing his own amateur deal in 1988.

While Ramon was basking in the NL West sunshine, Pedro had to pay his dues a few rungs further down the ladder, toiling all season for the Rookie-level Great Falls Dodgers of the Pioneer League.

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

The youngster wasn’t quite as dominating as his older brother, but he did put up a nifty 8-3 record in 14 stars with a 3.62 ERA and 82 strikeouts in just 77 innings.

It was just the sort of performance big league fans would come to expect of Pedro within a few scant years — lopsided won-loss record, modest workloads (by ace standards), lots of strikeouts.

Of course, in the Majors, that ERA dropped precipitously and Pedro developed into one of the greatest hurlers of all time.

In 18 seasons, Martinez’s Hall of Fame career produced a ridiculous 219-100 record with a career ERA of 2.93 and ten strikeouts per nine innings, good for three Cy Young Awards and a ring with the Boston Red Sox in 2004.

All of that greatness predictably made Pedro a hot commodity in the hobby, too, with his 1991 and 1992 rookie cards among the most popular in several “Junk Wax” issues of the day.

But cardboard was another place where P. Martinez got a head start in that summer of 1990, courtesy of Sport Pro.

The Spokane, WA, firm issued a set of 30 of those Great Falls Dodgers, which included future Chavez Ravine denizen Raul Mondesi.

And, of course, a young man named Pedro Martinez. It’s his first card ever, but it already shoed him in Dodger Blue, as if he were always destined for Major League greatness.

Wow! Wax of the Day

Things started to get really out of hand in the hobby that summer of 1990, with production numbers skyrocketing (even though they had been up there for awhile). Thirty years on, that means you can find things like the lot below for pretty cheap:

That’s a case of fifteen (15) 1990 Donruss complete sets for less than you might have paid for two sets when they were issued. Who says you can’t have fun with junk wax?

Check out the full listing here (affiliate link).