Ever since 2003, David Ortiz has been one of my favorite athletes. Since April 20, 2013, he and Tom Brady have been my favorite athlete of all time. I’m starting the post with this video rather than anything about baseball because Ortiz showed in that moment that he meant so much more to Boston than just being a player for the Red Sox.
To this day, David Ortiz doesn’t get enough credit for being a real part of the city, for being one of us. Ortiz has made Boston his home, has shown genuine love for the fans, and has always understood the tone and the attitude of the city. Hell, he even hates the majority of the Boston sports media, and what’s more Bostonian than that?!
I’ve heard a story from two different UPS/Fedex delivery guys who had to drop something off at Ortiz’s house. they said that, when they dropped it off, Ortiz couldn’t have been more kind and gregarious. He even offered them a little bit of the lunch he was having at the time — which of course consisted of rice and beans. The dude loves being nice to the people of Boston.
On the field, I’d argue that the best praise we can give Ortiz is that his 2004 Postseason might not be the first on field accomplishment you think about when you think of Ortiz’s career. His stats were 16 games, .353/.500/.706, an astronomical 1.206 OPS, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 23.5 BB%, multiple timely hits right when the Sox were down, and 1 Grand Slam that will be remembered forever. Because 2013 was more recent and fewer other Red Sox were performing, we might think of that year before his October performance nine seasons earlier.
But we shouldn’t. In October 2004, David Ortiz was consistently the best player on the field and put the Red Sox on his (humongous) back en route to ending the curse. His stats were even better than 2013: 14 games, .400/.515.764, an even more astronomical 1.279 OPS, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 19.1 BB%, and 3 (THREE!!!) walk off hits. Ain’t nobody on the Yankees could handle Ortiz, much less shut him down.
You should remember David Ortiz primarily through two videos. The first is posted above, and you’re not human if you haven’t watched it yet. The second is MLB.com’s collection of Ortiz’s greatest postseason hits, and this video was done before his increible streak of reaching base safely in nine straight plate appearances in the World Series and all 14 of his career World Series games:
Yeah, I’m biased towards the guy who takes up a quarter of the backdrop for this website. But as my mother always says, just because I’m biased doesn’t mean I’m wrong. And my bias towards Ortiz doesn’t change the fact that he’s the best clutch hitter of all time. Find me any other player in the storied history of the game that you’d most want with your season on the line. I’ll take Big Papi every time.
You may be focusing on the Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins, but take some time today to reflect on David Ortiz’s 13-going-on-14 years with the Red Sox. You’ll remind yourself how amazing it’s been. And now you have all the reason to maniacally and neurotically want the Red Sox to splurge in free agency, because what better way is there to end Ortiz’s career with another amazing World Series performance. Let’s have the Red Sox get him there, and I’ll bet you anything that he’ll shine as bright as the sunset he is riding towards.