- 1B, DH
- Big Papi, Cookie Monster
- November 18, 1975
- 6' 4"
- 230 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-02-1997 with MIN
- Allstar Selections:
- 2004 ALCS, 2004 SS, 2005 Hank A, 2005 SS, 2006 SS, 2007 SS
His clutch perfomance against the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series will keep David Ortiz in the hearts of Red Sox faithful forever. In Games Four and Five at Fenway Park, Ortiz belted walk-off, game-winning hits in extra-innings. In Game Seven at Yankee Stadium, he belted a first inning two-run homer to get the ball rolling for a Red Sox rout. Overall, through 2005, "Big Papi" had delivered 28 RBI in 29 post-season games for Boston. Following the 2002 campaign, the Twins, who rarely allowed Ortiz to face everyday pitching, released the first baseman. Immediately, Boston brass realized that Ortiz's swing was made for bandbox Fenway. He was signed as a free agent, and in his first three years in a Red Sox uniform he delivered 31, 41, and 47 homers, with escalating RBI totals as well: 101, 139, and 148. In 2005, he nearly became the first full-time DH to win the Most Valuable Player Award, but narrowly lost the honor to Alex Rodriguez.
Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins (1992-2002)
Ortiz graduated from Estudia Espallat High School in the Dominican Republic and in 1992 he was signed by the Seattle Mariners who listed him as "David Arias". He played for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, a Mariners farm team, until 1996, when he was traded to the Minnesota Twins as the player to be named later in an earlier trade for Dave Hollins. When he arrived in Minnesota, he informed the team that he preferred to be listed as "David Ortiz."
He made his Twins debut in September 1997. For a few years, he was moved back and forth between the Twins and their minor league affiliate in Connecticut, the New Britain Rock Cats. In 2002, Ortiz hit .272 for Minnesota, with 20 home runs and 75 RBIs. The Twins advanced to the American League Championship Series that year, where they lost to the Anaheim Angels. Despite showing flashes of talent, Ortiz's time with the Twins will be remembered as a series of injuries and inconsistency both in the field and at the plate. Ortiz suffered wrist injuries in both 1998 and 2001. He continued to experience knee problems in early 2002 that plagued him throughout the season, despite hitting 32 doubles, 20 homers and 75 RBIs in 125 games. He was released by the Twins after the season. In six seasons with the Twins, Ortiz hit 58 homers and 238 RBI.
Boston Red Sox
On January 22, 2003, Ortiz signed a free agent contract with the Boston Red Sox. He played sparingly in the first two months of the season, primarily pinch hitting and starting occasionally as a DH. On June 1, manager Grady Little benched slumping Jeremy Giambi and inserted Ortiz in the lineup as the full time DH. In July, Ortiz hit 8 HRS and in August he had 11 more. He finished the season batting .288 with 31 HRS and 101 RBI. He finished 5th in the AL MVP voting. In the postseason he struggled in the ALDS against the Oakland A's until Game 4 when he hit a 2 run double in the bottom of the 8th inning off of closer Keith Foulke to give the Red Sox the lead. In the ALCS against the New York Yankees, Ortiz had 2 HRS and 6 RBI as Boston lost in 7 games.
In 2004, Ortiz played a major role in leading the Red Sox to their first World Series championship in 86 years. This was Ortiz's second year with the Red Sox and his first year as their full-time designated hitter. During the season, Ortiz was voted onto the All-Star team for the first time in his career, as he batted .301 with 41 home runs and 139 RBI. In the playoffs, Ortiz hit .409 with 5 home runs and 23 RBI. He had multiple game-winning hits to help Boston advance to and ultimately win the World Series. Ortiz was also suspended for 5 games (later reduced to 3 games due to an appeal) after being ejected following an incident on July 16 in a game against the Angels in which he threw several bats onto the field that came close to hitting umpires Bill Hohn and Mark Carlson. He hit a walk-off home run off of Jarrod Washburn to win the American League Division Series against the Angels. He then hit a walk-off home run against the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the ALCS and a walk-off single in Game 5 during the American League Championship Series. His post-season heroics earned him MVP honors for the ALCS, the first time a DH had ever been named MVP. Additionally, he finished fourth in AL MVP voting.
Ortiz hit 47 home runs and had 148 RBI while batting .300. He led the American League in RBI and finished 2nd in home runs. He finished 2nd in the Most Valuable Player award voting while leading the Red Sox to their 3rd consecutive playoff appearance.
In 2006, Ortiz hit 54 home runs (setting a new Red Sox record) and had 137 RBI, while batting .287 with an OPS of 1.049. He led the American League in both HR and RBI, winning the HR crown by 10 over the 2nd place finisher Jermaine Dye.
On September 20, Ortiz tied Jimmie Foxx's single season Red Sox home run record of 50 set in 1938; in the 6th inning against Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Boof Bonser.
On September 27, Ortiz broke Foxx's single season Red Sox home run record by hitting his 51st home run off his former teammate, Johan Santana of the Minnesota Twins. The home run came on a 1–0 pitch in the first inning and it was his 44th home run of the season as a designated hitter, breaking his own American League single-season record.
Health scare in 2006
Ortiz said he began feeling ill between games of a day-night doubleheader on August 18, 2006, against New York. Between games, he had gone home and tried to sleep but could not. Ortiz was reportedly driven to the hospital by a team assistant. An irregular heartbeat was the cause for the stress according to his doctors. Ortiz would not originally talk about his condition, but opened up to the media on August 25, 2006, reportedly saying "I'm a healthy son of a [gun]."
On August 28, 2006, Ortiz had recurring symptoms from his irregular heartbeat and was a last minute scratch in the Red Sox game at Oakland. Manager Terry Francona and General Manager Theo Epstein agreed that Ortiz fly back to Boston where he was reevaluated and cleared to play again in early September.
In 2007, Ortiz once again was a major force as he helped lead the Red Sox to their seventh World Series title. Despite playing the entire season with a torn meniscus in his right knee as well as nagging injuries to his shoulder and quadriceps, he finished the year hitting .332 with 35 home runs and 117 RBI. In addition, he hit 52 doubles, led the American League in extra base hits and had an OPS of 1.066. In the postseason Ortiz batted .370 with 3 home runs and 10 RBI.
2008 was a frustrating season for Ortiz. After starting slowly he suffered a wrist injury which caused him to miss several weeks. He played in only 109 games and finished the season hitting .264 with just 23 home runs and 89 RBI, his lowest totals since joining the Red Sox. However, his ratio of homering every 18.1 at-bats still led the team. In his first six seasons with Boston, Ortiz has hit 231 home runs as a Red Sox, with the most homers against the Rays (34), and the Yankees (25).
Ortiz struggled in the beginning of the 2009 season, hitting only .206 with no home runs and 30 strikeouts in his first 34 games. On May 22, Ortiz hit his first home run of the season off Brett Cecil of the Toronto Blue Jays, ending his career-high 178 homerless at-bat streak. In June, Ortiz broke out of his slump by hitting 8 home runs with 22 RBIS. On July 9, Ortiz hit his 300th career home run against Luke Hochevar of the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park. Ortiz hit 9 home runs in July and August. He hit 28 RBI's in July.
On September 17, Ortiz hit his 270th career home run as a DH off of Jose Arredondo of the Los Angeles Angels breaking the all time record held by Frank Thomas.
Ortiz finished the season with 28 home runs and 99 RBI.
Ortiz hit .270 with 32 home runs and 102 RBI in 2010. He also won the Home Run Derby.
On April 2, 2011, Ortiz set the record for RBI by a designated hitter with 1,004 passing Edgar Martinez.
On May 21, 2011, Ortiz became only the fifth player to hit 300 home runs as a member of the Red Sox, joining Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, and Dwight Evans.
Performance Enhancing Drug Positive Test Result In 2003
On July 30, 2009, The New York Times reported that Ortiz and then-teammate Manny Ramirez were among a group of roughly 100 major league players to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs during 2003 survey testing. Five months before the Times allegations surfaced, Ortiz argued that players who tested positive for steroids should be suspended for an entire season. Before the Red Sox's game that afternoon, Ortiz declined to comment on the report, saying, "I'm not talking about that anymore."Afterwards, he confirmed he had tested positive and promised to speak with the media once he "[got] to the bottom of" the matter.
Ten days later, Ortiz held a press conference before a game at Yankee Stadium and denied ever buying or using steroids but suggested the positive test might have been due to his use of supplements and vitamins at the time. When asked which supplements he had been taking, Ortiz said he did not know. Ortiz was accompanied at the press conference by the general counsel of the players union, Michael Weiner. Because the list of players who tested positive was seized as part of a government investigation and is currently under court-ordered seal pending the outcome of litigation, Weiner said the players union was unable to provide Ortiz with any details about his test result, including what substance he tested positive for.