David Ortiz (David Americo (Arias) Ortiz) was born on November 18, 1975 in Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional (Dominican Republic). He made his Major League debut on September 2, 1997 for the Minnesota Twins. In 1998, his rookie year, he hit .277 with 9 home runs and 46 RBI. Ortiz played for the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox over the course of his 10 year career.
Most people believe that David Ortiz's best season was 2005, when he slugged 47 home runs, hit for a .300 average and knocked in 148 runs.
Affectionately nicknamed "Big Papi" by Red Sox Nation, Ortiz exploded onto the Major League scene after being signed by the Sox in 2003, a sharp contrast from being a relative unknown up until that point. Now Ortiz is one of the most beloved players in Boston. The fans count on him to come through every time he's at the plate. In three short years he has a long history of coming through when the team needed him most. There were stretches when he seemingly carried the offense single-handedly and his postseason heroics are legendary.
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Ortiz was signed in 1992 as an undrafted free agent at age 17 by the Seattle Mariners. After four years in the Mariners' organization, he was sent to the Minnesota Twins on September 13, 1996 to complete an earlier trade made on August 29.
Ortiz played in just 111 games the next three seasons with the Twins, traveling back and forth between the majors and minors. In 2000, Ortiz played 130 games with the Twins and hit .282 with 10 home runs and 63 RBIs. In 2001, he played in only 89 games, but his power numbers rose as he hit 18 home runs.
In 2002, Ortiz's final year in Minnesota, the 26-year-old hit .272 with 20 home runs and 75 RBIs but was released by the team at the end of the season.
Theo Epstein, in his first year as the GM of the Boston Red Sox, spent most of the offseason picking up cheap guys with a little bit of potential hoping that some of them might stick. Ortiz was his biggest success story as he flourished almost immediately in Boston.
After Jeremy Giambi struggled in his designated hitter role in 2003, Ortiz stepped in and ended up hitting 31 home runs and driving in 101 runs in 128 games for the Red Sox. In his first season with the Red Sox, his power numbers really boosted. It was the first time in his career he hit 30 homers, and it was also the first time he hit 100 RBIs in a season. Since then, he has been able to hit over 30 homers and 100 RBIs every single season.
Big Papi did even more damage in 2004, and it was that year that he and teammate Manny Ramirez became arguably the best back-to-back combination in all of baseball as they led the Red Sox to the team's first World Series Championship in 86 years. Manny and Ortiz both hit 40+ home runs, and 125+ RBIs; only one other back-to-back combo has been able to do that: Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Ortiz batted .301 with 41 homers and 139 RBIs and finished fourth in the American League MVP voting. He also had walk-off hits in both Game 4 and Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS as Boston rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to beat the New York Yankees and send them to the World Series.
In 2005, Ortiz finished second in the MVP voting to Alex Rodriguez after batting .300 with 47 homers and 148 runs batted in. Many people said Ortiz, who had better numbers than A-Rod, was denied the award because he was a designated hitter and did not play in the field.
Ortiz followed his outstanding 2005 season by setting a career-high and a Red Sox season record with 54 home runs. He also drove in 137 runs and finished third in the MVP voting.
If you're a baseball fan, and you hear the word walk-off, you immediately think of David Ortiz. Within three years, he was able to hit 11 walk-off home runs (9 in the regular season), along with 8 other walk-off hits (7 in the regular season).
Here is a list of walk-off hits/home runs he has:
Walk off home runs
I AM BASEBALL BOOM
September 23, 2003
Ortiz dropped his first walk-off bomb with the Red Sox in the heat of the 2003 playoff push, beating the Baltimore Orioles in extra innings. This was David's initiation into Red Sox lore, as Ortiz took a Kurt Ainsworth offering over the Green Monster in the 10th inning to send the yankee Faithful home knowing their magic number had dropped to 3. It was a first and a last for Sox fans, as this was the last time Big Papi would keep his helmet on in the celebratory Mosh Pit around home plate.
April 11, 2004
In Curt Schilling's first career start at Fenway Park as a member of the Red Sox, Papi provided Schill a glimpse of what he could enjoy over the next couple years. Ortiz and the Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 in 12 innings that Easter Sunday, giving Mark Malaska (making his Sox debut) his only win in a Red Sox uniform. Big Papi's two run shot off Aquilino Lopez ended an affair that was already taking too long for Manny Ramirez. Before the at-bat Manny Ramirez told David, "Finish this, man. We don't get paid overtime". Ramirez was not alone in his hope that Ortiz would end it right there, as 34,000+ at Fenway had waited 12 innings in low 40's temperatures to see just what Papi delivered.
October 8, 2004
It does not get much more dramatic than a homerun that ends a game and a Playoff Series at the same time, but David Ortiz did just that to beat the Anaheim Angels in a sweep of the 2004 ALDS. The Red Sox had earlier relinquished a 6-2 lead in this game when Vladimir Guerrero blasted a Grand Slam off Mike Timlin in the 7th inning to tie it where it would stay until the 10th. But Ortiz came to the rescue as he shot a Jarrod Washburn offering over the Green Monster to send Boston back to the ALCS where history was about to be re-written.
October 17, 2004
Kicking off one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of sports, Kevin Millar, Dave Roberts, Bill Mueller, and eventually David Ortiz gave Red Sox Nation their first glimmer of hope in a Championship Series for the ages. After Millar drew a walk from Mariano Rivera to lead off the 9th, pinch runner Roberts swiped second base and was promptly driven in by Mueller to send the game into extras. Alan Embree and Curtis Leskanic worked three innings of scoreless relief to set up Big Papi's 12th inning bomb off Paul Quantrill to give the Sox their first of eight victories in a row, and started a sequence of remarkable events that you would most commonly find in a Hollywood Screenplay.
June 2, 2005
Until this point, all of Papi's walkoff homers had occurred in extra innings with the score tied. A three-run shot to center in the 9th inning off lefty closer B.J. Ryan changed that in a hurry. On a full count with two outs, Ortiz brought home Mark Bellhorn and Edgar Renteria with him on his Walk-Off jaunt that gave Boston a thrilling 6-4 win on what was one strike away from being a 4-3 loss to the (then) AL East leading Orioles.
September 6, 2005
Ortiz' game ending blast off Angels' reliever Scott Shields prompted John W. Henry and Larry Lucchino to bestow on Big Papi the highest honor a baseball player could ask for. A plaque commemorating Ortiz's uncanny ability to deliver in the clutch was awarded to David with "The Greatest Clutch Hitter in the History of the Boston Red Sox" engraved on it. Less than a week later, Ortiz' two homeruns in Toronto were the deciding factor, with the second leading off the 11th inning to provide the winning margin.
June 11, 2006
By 2006, Big Papi was firmly entrenched as one of the premier sluggers in baseball. Akinori Otsuka was about to discover this first hand. Down two runs with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, Ortiz stepped to the plate to try and deliver the Sox a win in the first game of a doubleheader. Papi took a 2-2 delivery and sent it skyward toward the right field bleachers for a three-run dinger and the eighth Walk-Off homer of his career.
June 24, 2006
Old friend Tom Gordon had been having a dominant year in the National League, although not having to face the likes David Ortiz regularly might have had something to do with that. But it was inevitable that Gordon would face Big Papi in the 10th inning on this Saturday afternoon tilt at Fenway Park. Gordon, probably best known for his wicked 12-to-6 curve, got Ortiz to swing and miss badly on consecutive pitches before he tried to drop another deuce in on him. Tommy learned his lesson in a hurry as Ortiz lobbed Gordon's 2-2 delivery into the covered seats in center for another miraculous Boston victory.
July 31, 2006
Trailing 8-6 heading into the bottom of the 9th, all of Red Sox Nation had one thought. Get one man on. David Ortiz was due up fourth. Alex Cora singled and the roar began. No double plays and Papi hits. Kevin Youkilis walked and everyone knew. He would get a shot. Mark Loretta popped up for the first out. Then Big Papi strode to the plate against young Fausto Carmona. Hitting upper 90s gas is not easy, but Ortiz sure made it look easy, as he smashed a 3-run HR on a 2-0 count into the centerfield bleachers, giving the Red Sox an emotional 9-8 win.
September 12, 2007
The Rays scored 4 in the first inning off Jon Lester. A 3-run homer by Papi in the third inning brought the Sox to within a run, and it remained a 4-3 game until the last of the 9th. With closer Al Reyes in to seal the deal for Tampa Bay, leadoff hitter Julio Lugo started things off with a walk. A flyout to short left by Dustin Pedroia brought Ortiz to the plate. Papi took the first pitch low and outside for a ball, then fouled off a letter-high fastball on the outside of the plate. The next two pitches also missed outside. On a 3-1 count, Reyes left a belt-high fastball on the inside of the plate that Ortiz turned on and lifted to deep right. Tampa Bay right fielder Delmon Young misread the ball, first heading to his left toward the foul pole before ranging back over his right shoulder. His recovery was too late, and the ball landed out of his reach in the first row of seats. The victory gave the Sox a 2-1 series win and kept the second-place Yankees 5 games back in the AL East heading into a critical 3-game weekend series between the rivals at Fenway.
Walk Off Hits
April 4, 2000
In really his first full season in the Majors, David Ortiz was coming off a 1999 campaign in which he only recorded 20 AB's due to injury. It didn't take long for Papi to show flashes of the brilliance he would display further down the road. In the second game of the 2000 season, Ortiz delivered a single off Roberto Hernandez to plate Christian Guzman with the winning run. This is Papi's first walk-off hit of any kind in the Major Leagues.
July 31, 2002
Ortiz singled with the bases loaded in the 10th inning off Antonio Osuna to score Luis Rivas with the deciding run. From 7/27 - 8/4, the Twins won four of their eight games in walk-off fashion, all in the 10th inning.
July 26, 2003
Papi Ortiz might have officially become " Big Papi " on this Mid-Summer day at Fenway Park. Ortiz's first Walk-Off hit as a Red Sox happened to come against the New York Yankees, endearing him to Red Sox nation instantaneously. Setting the table for Ortiz, Jeremy Giambi singled and stole the first base of his career as Jason Varitek struck out. Johnny Damon was then intentionally walked with Damian Jackson scheduled to hit. Papi was then called upon to pinch-hit with two outs in the 9th inning against Armando Benitez who had been acquired 10 days earlier. Ortiz proceeded to follow Grady Little's instructions of "Go get the Green Monster" by sending a laser mid-way up the wall to collect the win.
June 11, 2004
6/11 - After a 2 out error by Manny Ramirez in the top of the ninth allowed the Dodgers to tie the game at 1, a David Ortiz single in 9th off Tom Martin scores Johnny Damon from 3rd for the win. Ortiz was credited for the other run in that game as well, as he hit a solo homer in 7th.
October 18, 2004
After staving off elimination the night before, Papi and the Red Sox continued their never-say-die ways in the longest Playoff game in baseball history. After battling back just to send the game into extra innings, Bronson Arroyo, Mike Myers, Alan Embree, and Tim Wakefield pitched five scoreless innings of relief to allow the Sox the opportunity to end this marathon game in the 14th. Johnny Damon walked with one out in the 14th inning, with Manny Ramirez pushing him to 2nd base on a two-out walk. Ortiz followed that with what can be looked back on as the hit might have sealed the Yankees' fate. Big Papi's two out single off Esteban Loaiza plated Damon with the game-winning run, propelling the Bo Sox into New York with about as much momentum as a team can have in baseball. There is little doubt among Red Sox Nation that we would still be looking for that 6th World Title if it weren't for David Ortiz and his simply unbelievable 2004 Postseason.
September 29, 2005
David Ortiz Singled with one out against Blue Jays closer Miguel Batista in the 9th, with Edgar Renteria on first and Johnny Damon scoring from second. In the 8th, Ortiz had hit a solo HR to tie game.
June 26, 2006
Once again, David Ortiz found himself in the batter's box with the game on the line. Most Sox followers had this one down in the win column before he had even reached the on deck circle. For the second game in a row, Big Papi was the deciding factor in a crazy game in which Sox pitching squandered a 6-1 lead in the 7th inning, to fall behind 7-6 in the 12th. After Kevin Youkilis singled in Coco Crisp and advanced to second on the throw home, Ortiz stepped in to face Clay Condrey. The only thing left to be decided was which way Papi would end it. This time, David sent a screaching liner into the left-centerfield gap to score Youkilis and give Craig Hansen his first Major League Win.
July 29, 2006
Trailing 6-3, the Sox battled back to tie the game in the eighth inning—David Ortiz got the rally started with a solo home run to dead center. In the bottom of the 11th, J.C. Romero was called in to face Ortiz with 2 outs, and runners on 1st and 2nd. On a 1-1 count, Ortiz grounded a single into left-center field, rendering the "Ortiz Shift" worthless. Alex Gonzalez raced around third to score, and the Red Sox were victorious, snapping a two-game slide.
Ortiz made 13.5 million in 2007. He remains part of the most feared one-two punch in baseball, along with teammate, cleanup hitter, and bizarre personality Manny Ramirez. Most teams now employ a severe lefty shift against Ortiz, bringing the third baseman around to play a center-shifted shortstop, dropping the second baseman into shallow right field, and with the shortstop playing behind second base or even on the right field side. Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays has even thrown a shift where the third baseman falls back and plays left field, playing basically what amounts to four or five outfielders against Ortiz. He has struggled against the shift in the past, although he has hit his fair share of home runs right over it and has been known to even drop down a few bunt singles down the third base line, a la Ted Williams.
Ortiz's effectiveness took a big hit later in the 2006 season when Ramirez was out with an injury. With the likes of Mike Lowell and sometimes Kevin Youkilis hitting behind him, his walk rate jumped considerably. Ortiz does seem to have a weakness on breaking balls down and in, but anything else on the inside corner is just about destined to end up in the right field bleacher seats, especially at Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium.
Ortiz set single-season records for most home runs as a member of the Red Sox and as a DH in 2006 with 54, leading the American League and only four behind eventual NL MVP Ryan Howard for the Major League lead.
- Won the 2006 ArmchairGM AL MVP Award
- Was an All-Star in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007
- Won the ALCS MVP in 2004
- Won the Hank Aaron Award in 2004
- Won a Silver Slugger in 2004 , 2005 , and 2006
- Was 2nd in the MVP voting in 2005. He was 4th in 2004. He was 5th in 2003
- His .534 career SLG is good enough for 42nd all-time
- Was 2nd in the league in HR in 2005 and 2004
- Lead the league in RBI with 148 in 2005. Was 2nd in 2004 with 139
- Lead the league in extra base hits in 2004 and 2005
- Combined with Manny Ramirez to become the first pair of AL teammates since Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in 1931 to both hit .300 with 40 HR and 100 RBI
- Holds the Red Sox franchise record for the most home runs hit in one season (54); set in 2006
- Signed as a non-drafted free agent by Seattle Mariners (November 28, 1992).
- Traded by Seattle Mariners to Minnesota Twins (September 13, 1996) completing trade in which Minnesota Twins traded Dave Hollins to Seattle Mariners in exchange for a player to be named later (August 29, 1996).
- Released by Minnesota Twins (December 16, 2002).
- Signed by Boston Red Sox (January 22, 2003).
- Signed a 4-year, $52 million extension with the Boston Red Sox on April 10, 2006, keeping him with the team through 2010
- 2007, David released a book about his life called "Big Papi: My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits".
- Each time Ortiz crosses the plate after hitting a home run, he looks up and points both index fingers to the sky in tribute to his mother Angela Rosa Arias, who died in a car crash in January 2002 at the age of 46. Ortiz also sports a tattoo of his mother on his biceps.
- Ortiz has become a Green Bay Packers fan since marrying his wife Tiffany, who is a native of Kaukauna, Wisconsin.
- Ortiz is the first player ever to hit two walk-off home runs in the same postseason (in Game 3 of the 2004 ALDS against the Los Angeles Angels and in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS against the New York Yankees).
- He is also the first player in Red Sox history to hit 40 or more home runs in three consecutive seasons (2004–2006).
- Big Papi set a new record for home runs by a DH in 2005 (47). He then broke his own record by hitting 54 in 2006.