Top 10 Boston Athletes of the Decade: #4 - David Ortiz
BOSTON – In the past month, David Ortiz has made a definite return to the public eye after spending the summer recovering from a gunshot wound in the Dominican Republic back in June.
From returning to Instagram to moving his daughter into college to throwing out the first pitch at Fenway Park, Big Papi is definitely back! He made the announcement of his return on Twitter this week, as well.
It is certainly a treat to have David Ortiz in our lives again, especially since, for my money, he was the fourth best Boston athlete of the decade. (He would definitely make the list for the previous decade, too!)
In the past decade, Ortiz only played from 2010 to 2016, but he still made a massive impact both on and off the field. Perhaps his most iconic moment, though, was when he took to the Fenway Park mound after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and proclaimed, "This is our fucking city! And nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong." It has a solid case for being the best sports speech of the decade, too.
That's what was special about Ortiz. He was always the heart of the Boston Red Sox and the heart of the city during his tenure. There is no doubt that Dustin Pedroia was the team leader during the decade, but in many ways, Big Papi was essentially the co-leader. I always suspected that Pedroia was never named the official captain because they thought it might be a slight to Ortiz.
After all, Ortiz could light up any baseball field. In his final season in the big leagues, Ortiz still managed to lead the league in doubles, extra base hits, OPS, and slugging percentage. Many thought he was retiring too soon, but he felt it was better to go out on top.
Kicking off the decade with a Home Run Derby title, Ortiz was a five time All-Star during the decade in which he clobbered 224 home runs. The most home runs he hit in a single season during the decade? That would be 38 in 2016. He just kept getting better every year.
Lastly, perhaps no championship contribution in the past decade could be more attributed to a single athlete than the 2013 World Series could be to David Ortiz. Many players, like Pedroia, Shane Victorino, Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes, and more, were crucial for that championship, but Ortiz undeniably put the team on his back during the post-season.
In the second game of the 2013 ALCS against the Detroit Tigers, the Red Sox were down four runs in the eighth inning. And as he always did, Ortiz came through in the clutch by clobbering an iconic grand slam over the right field wall to tie the game. Boston ended up winning the game and the series.
His stats in the 2013 World Series are still insane. No one has come close to touching the numbers he put up in six games against the St. Louis Cardinals. He had a remarkable .688 batting average and an unheard of .760 on-base percentage and 1.188 slugging percentage. Racking up eleven hits in sixteen at bats, Papi also garnered eight walks to go with two doubles, two home runs, six runs batted in, and seven runs scored. He was absolutely electrifying and it earned him World Series MVP honors.
The 2013 World Series doesn't happen without Big Papi. A lot doesn't happen without Big Papi.
Image via Wikipedia