June 29, 2006


Somber Pedro reflects on ‘beautiful’ friend (Michael Silverman and Dave Wedge, June 29, 2006, Boston Herald)

Pedro Martinez held yesterday’s Herald in his hands, gazing longingly and smiling softly at a picture on Page 1 of a smiling woman wearing a silver satin dress and pearl necklace.

“She was so beautiful,” he said, sitting in the New York Mets clubhouse before last night’s game against the Red Sox at Fenway. “Look at her.”

She was Linda Bilton, the Delta flight attendant whose battle with bladder cancer was waged with Martinez playing confidante and friend.

On long cross-country flights spent with Martinez when he was still a Red Sox, Bilton, when her work was done, would go to the back of the plane and sit with Martinez.

The two spoke of “deep, personal” things, said Martinez, “things I could never repeat with anybody” but their bond grew deep.

Martinez had lost contact with Bilton since he went to the Mets but the last he had heard, Bilton had been winning her fight.

He was shocked to hear Tuesday night that the mother of four died Aug. 9 at age 54.

“Linda thought very much of him,” said Bilton’s mother, Joan McCormack. “He calmed her down a lot of times. It was a friendship - just him being a nice guy. She was just thrilled to have somebody besides her family that she knew cared.”

Of course, said McCormack, her gratitude to Martinez aside,“I have to root for the Red Sox. I’ve been rooting for them for 78 years. I’m not going to stop now.”

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 29, 2006 10:09 AM
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