David Ortiz, better known to some as ‘Big Papi’, announced on the Player’s Tribune that the 2016 season would be his last:
Ortiz has been a force in the middle of the Red Sox lineup for 13 years. In a Red Sox uniform he has posted a slashline of .288/.385/.566 (.951 OPS), bashed 445 home runs, and helped the team win three rings. I don’t believe that players are clutch, as there is no real evidence to support it, but Ortiz’ postseason heroics come close to making me a believer that he is in fact clutch. In the postseason he has hit .295/.409/.553 (.962 OPS), with many, many hits coming at critical moments. In the 2013 World Series he hit .688/.760/.1.188 (1.948 OPS!!!) en route to an MVP award. Those are video game numbers. He has been truly special to watch.
It remains to be seen if Ortiz will take part in a lavish victory-tour across ballparks for his final year, they way that Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera did in their final years. I love Ortiz so my bias will lead me to enjoy any such tour that happens, but they can often be tacky and self-aggrandizing in a way that is unpalatable. Yesterday, it was being reported that he would rather that if teams are going to give him a gift they make it a donation to his charity, the David Ortiz Children’s Fund. That would be a really nice gesture, and could still be done in a brief on-field ceremony before a game that honours Ortiz’ career.
Upon hearing that Papi was going to retire after the 2016 season, the staff at BP Boston put together a list of our favourite Ortiz highlights. Many of the selected highlights are of the timely postseason hits he produced, mine being no exception. Head over to the site to revel in the wonder that is David Ortiz: Ask BP Boston: What’s Your Favourite David Ortiz Moment? When you are done with that I also recommend reading Alex Skillin’s Salute to David Ortiz.
This bomb, that started the famous comeback in the 2004 ALCS, still gives me chills:
While you are here you might as well check out some more of his postseason heroics:
As I said in yesterday’s post, when you are a DH, as Ortiz has been throughout his career, you need to hit a lot to be valuable. Ortiz has done just that for 13 consecutive years, and done it to an extent that I think should land him in the Hall of Fame.