David Ortiz is really more of a legend than a man at this point right? Last offseason he announced that the 2016 season (during which he is 40 years old) would be his last. We should have fully expected him to go out with a bang.
Throughout his career David Ortiz has shown that baseball can, and should be fun. He is a hulking, grinning, left handed giant who has been launching homers out of Fenway Park since 2003. Ortiz actually came up in the Minnesota Twins system, but the Twins never seemed to be able to unlock his inherent… “Ortiz-ness”. It was when he came to Boston that he came alive, as both a hitter and a personality. In Minnesota, Ortiz’s best year included 20 home runs and 76 RBI’s. In Boston he has hit at least 25 home runs and driven in at least 90 runs every single year (excluding injury shortened seasons 2008 and 2012). He has been the picture of consistency, even with pundits predicting his demise year after year through his mid and late-30’s.
Now, with a clear end in sight (and I think it will really be the end, I don’t foresee a Brett Favre situation from Ortiz), Ortiz is finally using up whatever was left in the tank. And to glorious effect. The 40 YEAR OLD Ortiz, as of this writing, is hitting .342 (4th in the MLB), leads the MLB in doubles and RBI’s, and is tied for second in home runs with 16 already. Even if it ended today, this would be a remarkable finish to a remarkable career.
During his time in Boston, Ortiz has been a colossal presence both on and off the field. Shortly after his arrival the Red Sox finally beat the curse of the Bambino and won their first World Series in 86 years. Powered by a fantastic Ortiz season (.332 BA, 52 HR, 117 RBI) the Sox did it again in 2007. Ortiz is a fixture of our pop-culture in a way that few baseball players achieve. Ortiz has, for better or for worse depending on where you fall on the matter, been a key argument toward keeping or expanding the DH rule. A career like Ortiz’s likely would not have been possible without the opportunity to DH nearly every day. And it was the Dominican-born Ortiz who took the microphone to powerfully speak on behalf of the Red Sox to the people of Boston after the horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon:
Yeah, it is your fucking city Big Papi. And they love you there. But you’ll be missed by everyone in baseball. Congratulations on a tremendous career and what’s shaping up to be an unprecedented finish.