The Red Sox finally put an end to the annual contract negotiations between the club and David Ortiz with an extension that could keep Boston's favorite hitter in a Red Sox uniform through 2017. Ortiz will be 42 in 2017 so no doubt the contract with the notoriously statistically-based Red Sox ownership is in part a recognition of Big Papi's incredible contributions to the club as he enters his 11th season as a Red Sox.
With Opening Day just around the corner, it's a good a time as any to look back the ten biggest hits of Ortiz's storied career.
Ending the 2004 ALDS
October 8, 2004 - Ortiz his a two-run home run of the (then) Anaheim Angels's Jarrod Washburn in the tenth inning to sweep the Angels and win the ALDS, setting the stage for an amazing follow up in the ALCS (more on that in a bit).
Red Sox 3, Angels 2
September 6, 2005 - Ortiz's sixth walkoff home run as a Red Sox might not seem all that impressive, just one in a long line of clutch hits for what some call the cluchest hitter in the history of everything (I didn't say how many people call him that). What sets this game apart is that this is the only one I witnessed in person. Good times.
Game Winner In The Penultimate Series Of The Season
September 29, 2005 - The Red Sox were down by three to the Blue Jays in the last game of the second-to-last series of the year and next faced the Yankees to end the regular season and decide the AL East. The last thing the Sox wanted was to go into that Yankees series with another loss. And Ortiz made sure that didn't happen, tying the game with a home run in the eight, and walking off in the ninth with an RBI single. The Sox went on to take two of three from the Yankees and the teams ended the season tied atop the AL East with a 95-67 record. But the Yankees's better head-to-head record mean New York won the division, while the Red Sox took the Wild Card.
Ortiz's Second Walk-Off in a Row
June 26, 2006 - Just Papi being Papi, walking off with a single against the Phillies in the 12th inning, the second consecutive game he had walked off.
Part of Back-to-Back-to-Back Homers in ALCS
October 16, 2007 - Ortiz was part of a home run sandwich against the Indians, going deep between home runs from Kevin Youkilis and Manny Ramirez. It was just one home run form Ortiz, but as if often the case with the slugger, history-making happened as that is the only time there have been three consecutive home runs in LCS history.
Red Sox Walkoff Home Run Record
August 26, 2009 - Ortiz claimed the all-time Red Sox regular season walk off home run record with the ninth of his career, and second dinger of the game. Ortiz passed Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx, who had eight.
"This is our F****** city"
April 20, 2013 - While not necessarily a "hit" per se, David Ortiz's rallying cry following the bombing of the Boston Marathon inspired the team, and the country, to rally around the city behind the "Boston Strong" messaging. It was a defining moment early in a season that culminated in a World Series celebration at Fenway Park, the first time the championship-clinching game had taken place in Boston since the infamous 1918 World Series.
2013 World Series
October, 2013 - Ortiz batted .688 average (11 hits in 16 at-bats), reaching base 19 times in 25 total plate appearances with two home runs and six RBI and was robbed of a home grand slam by Carlos Beltran which forced Beltran out of the game. In the deciding Game Six, Ortiz was walked four times, the Cardinals all but giving up on the idea of getting him out. He was named the MVP of the World Series for the first time, or Most Valuable Papi, as the AP wrote.
Grand Slam against the Tigers
October 13, 2013 - Ortiz's dramatic Grand Slam in Game 2 of the 2013 ALCS against the Tigers which sent Torri Hunter feet over head into the bullpen and was the iconic image of the post-season, making bullpen cop Steve Horgan an overnight celebrity. The Sox were facing a 5-1 deficient when Ortiz took the first pitch off Tigers' closer Joaquin Benoit over Torri Hunter's head to tie the game.
(GIF via @BuzzFeedSports
And here's the whole video:
October 18, 2004 - The second-biggest hit for David Ortiz wasn't a home run, rather a single into center field in the 14th-inning that allowed Johnny Damon to score from second and the Sox to win Game Five of the 2004 American League Championship Series, sending the series back to New York.
Keeping the Dream Alive
October 17, 2004 - Ortiz's biggest hit came in the 12th inning of Game Four of the ALCS. With the Red Sox facing the prospect of a devastating, and humiliating four-game sweep by the Yankees (who had bested Boston in the 2003 ALCS), Ortiz came to the plate and sent a pitch from the Yankee's Paul Quantril into the Yankee bullpen for the walk off victory. The hit gave the Red Sox a Game Four victory to avoid a four-game sweep to the Yankees and sent the series back to New York and keep the dream alive. "Don't let us win tonight" had warned Kevin Millar. The Yankees did let the Ortiz and Sox win, and you know the rest.
Now that Ortiz doesn't have to worry about the amount of respect he is being paid by the front office, he can concentrate on what he does best. Hit baseballs.