On a cool Monday night in Boston, Red Sox DH David Ortiz came to bat against Cleveland reliever Cody Allen in the bottom of the 8th. Boston had to score with them down to their last at-bats of an ALDS elimination game. Allen threw three straight balls then on ball 4, Ortiz, even though the umpire called it a ball, questioned it as he wanted to swing one last time. When Ortiz got to first base, he clapped his hands trying to get his team going. His gesture didn’t help as Boston went whimpering from the post-season by getting swept 3-0. That lost effectively ended Ortiz’s magnificent career.
Back in 1992, the Seattle Mariners signed Ortiz out of the Dominican Republic. However, after being in their minor league system for four years, Ortiz was traded to Minnesota for third baseman Dave Hollins. A first baseman at the time, Ortiz’s MLB debut was on September 2, 1997. Ortiz career with the Twins was rocky as he went up and down the system. While with the Twins, he battled injuries which caused him to struggle at the plate and stay in the minor leagues for a little while. With that said, in 6 years in Minnesota, Ortiz batted .348 with 238 RBIs and 58 home runs. Ortiz didn’t get selected to an All-Star Game or win many awards with the Twins. After the 2002 season, the Twins and Ortiz had a bitter divorce ending with the release of the future all-star.
This past summer, Ortiz took some shots towards the Twins organization. An article in USA Today had Ortiz offering sharp criticism. “What was funny is that when I played in Minnesota, they didn’t even know they had a major league baseball team. I used to walk around the street and people didn’t know who the hell we were,” said Ortiz in that article. He went on to say: “The thing that helped me was getting away from that turf. I got to the big leagues when I was 21, and a year later, I had so much pain in my body because of that turf. It was the worst. I went to Fenway, and the pain was gone.” Ortiz basically was taking rips at how our beloved team operates and at the Metrodome. Those comments were made the week that Ortiz made his last appearance at Target Field, and I don’t think the fans took it will.
After being released from Minnesota, Ortiz signed with the Red Sox in 2003. For the next 14 seasons, Ortiz became the most dominant player of all-time. The ten-time all-star found his groove playing for Boston. Ortiz started playing regularly that June. Ortiz dominance in Boston provided these numbers: .290 BA, 1,530 RBIs, 483 homers, and 1,419 singles. Three times in his career, Ortiz led the American League in RBIs. He is the active leader in doubles with 632. With all the accolades, Ortiz’s greatest accomplishment was helping Boston win three World Championships, while winning the World Series MVP award in 2013.
After the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013 that killed 3 spectators, Ortiz was full of emotions. Five days after the bombings, Ortiz took the mic and gave a heartfelt speech to the crowd. The Red Sox held ceremony at the end of a home victory against the Royals for the victims and first responders. Afterwards, Ortiz told Bostonians: “This is our [expletive] city, and nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.” Ortiz went on to say how he felt and that they were there with the city and would do anything to alleviate the pain. Later on, Ortiz apologized for the curse word, but not for the message that he gave.
Obviously, Ortiz played better once he signed with Boston. Ortiz will probably land in the Red Sox Hall of Fame, and maybe get enshrined into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Amid few controversies, Ortiz chugged his way through his career by making pitchers look bad. It seemed like every time he had to deliver, Ortiz did! FAREWELL, BIG PAPI!
Written by: Michael L. Sack