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2005 Fleer Tradition Gray Backs #157 David Ortiz

David Americo Ortiz Arias
(Big Papi, Senor Octubre)

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 6' 4", Weight 230 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

David Ortiz was originally signed by the Seattle Mariners as an undrafted free agent in 1992. On August 29, 1996, the M's sent a player to be named later to the Minnesota Twins for Dave Hollins. The player to be named turned out to be Ortiz, who broke into the big leagues with the Twins in 1997 and spent six seasons in Minnesota.

DavidOrtiz1.jpg

Ortiz was famously released by the Twins after the 2002 season; while he had shown some power, hitting 20 homers with 75 RBI in his last season, the Twins felt that he was not productive enough for a player with no defensive position. The Boston Red Sox thought otherwise and signed him as a free agent on January 22, 2003. It turned out to be one of the most inspired moved in franchise history. Since joining the Red Sox, Ortiz has earned increasing acclaim for his clutch hitting. As a Red Sox he has hit nine walk-off home runs.

Despite being one of baseball's most feared hitters during the 2000s, David Ortiz's 1999 season in which he went 0 for 20 with 12 strikeouts makes it all the more amazing that he ever was given a second shot at the big leagues.

In August 2006, Ortiz checked into the hospital two separate times as a result of heart palpitations. Nothing further came of it. At the time, he was leading the league home runs by a fairly large margin and won his first home run title with 54 while playing in 151 of the team's 162 games. Although Ortiz led the American League in homers in 2006 by a large margin, he did not have the highest slugging percentage in the league, an honor that went to Travis Hafner. Ortiz was also second in the league in slugging in 2004, behind teammate Manny Ramirez, and in 2005, behind Alex Rodriguez. He was 3rd in 2003.

Ortiz reached base in 16 of his first 18 plate appearances in the 2007 postseason.

Ortiz with the World Series trophy at the White House, 2008.

Ortiz went 2 for 8 with 3 walks and a double as the starting 1B in the 2009 World Baseball Classic in which the Dominican Republic was surprisingly eliminated in 3 games (including 2 losses to the Netherlands).

On July 30th, 2009, Ortiz was outed as one of the 104 players, along with Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa, listed as having tested positive in "anonymous" testing for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. Ortiz expressed surprise, saying he had never taken anything suspicious. There was concern that Ortiz may well have been on the decline phase of his career when he started the season slowly in both 2009 and 2010, but he recovered both years, ending up with 28 and 32 homers due to mid-season power surges. He was consistently good in 2011, hitting 29 homers with 96 RBI and a .309 batting average.

He was looking for a two-year contract extension from the Red Sox after the season, but following the team's late-season collapse and the ensuing front office shake-up, all he was offered was arbitration on a one-year contract. The two sides finally agreed on a 2012 contract in February, hours before the arbitration hearing was scheduled to take place. Ortiz later stated that he felt "humiliated" about the treatment received from the team, when players with no history in Boston, such as Carl Crawford and John Lackey, had been offered huge multi-year deals. The feelings of having been mistreated did not prevent him from having his customary productive season that year, as he reached 20 homers before the All-Star Game, to which he was named for the 8th time; he also had the second-best OPS in the American League at the time. On July 4th, he hit the 400th homer of his career against the Oakland Athletics. On July 18th, however, the Red Sox placed him on the disabled list with a strained Achilles tendon. He came back on August 24th, going 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI against the Kansas City Royals, but was put pack on the disabled list two days later, as he had aggravated his Achilles tendon injury in his one game back. There was a question whether he would come back that season, and even if he had played his last game as a member of the Red Sox, given that he would become a free agent after the season and that the team was in major rebuilding mode by that point. Ortiz did call it a season, finishing the year at .318 with 23 homers and 60 RBI in 90 games, which led to a clash with manager Bobby Valentine, who accused him of packing it in early because the Sox were out of the running. When Ortiz decided to re-sign with the Red Sox for two years and $26 million after the season, Valentine had been fired and replaced by former pitching coach John Farrell; Ortiz commented that Valentine "must have some mental issues or needs medicine or something".

Ortiz was back in camp with the Red Sox in 2013, but had to be shut down for a week in early March because of pain in his left heel. He eventually missed the first two weeks of the season, but came back on April 20th, which was the team's first home game since the bombings at the Boston Marathon a week earlier. As the team's most senior player, he gave a rousing speech before the game, thanking municipal authorities and police for their work in the wake of the tragedy, then went out and collected a pair of hits and a key RBI in Boston's 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals. On May 5th, he extended his hitting streak, dating back to the previous season, to 25 games with a 1st-inning homer off Yu Darvish in a loss to the Texas Rangers; it was the longest hitting streak of his career and eventually reached 27 games before it was ended by an 0-for-5 on May 8th. The streak had lasted 309 days, interrupted as it was by three sojourns on the disabled list and one off-season. On May 18th, he banged out two homers and had 6 RBI in a 12-5 win over the Twins; it was his 38th multi-homer game in a Red Sox uniform, setting a new franchise record that had been held by Ted Williams with 37. His was once again voted as a starter in the All-Star Game, as the AL's DH. On July 10th, he became the all-time leader for hits as a designated hitter when he collected number 1,689 at the position with a 2nd-inning double in an 11-4 win over the Mariners; Harold Baines was the previous record holder. Ortiz had earlier set the record for most home runs and RBI by a DH. On September 4th, he collected his 2,000th major league hit, as part of a 3-for-4 day that included a double, a pair of homers and 5 RBI in a 20-4 demolition of the Detroit Tigers. Ortiz finished the season with a batting line of .309/.395/.564 in 137 games, with 38 doubles, 30 homers and 103 RBIs. He added another 5 homers, 12 runs and 13 RBI in the postseason, including an incredible batting line of .688/.760/1.188 in the 2013 World Series. He was the hero of Boston's defeat of the Cardinals in 6 games, frustrating St. Louis' pitchers for the entire series to the point that they walked him four times in Game 6, three of those intentionally, as they could find no other way to contain him. He was named the World Series MVP.

When the Red Sox were invited to the White House to meet the President on April 1, 2014, as is customary with World Series winners, Ortiz was widely seen taking a "selfie" (a self-portrait taken with his cell phone) with President Barack Obama. It was seen as a good-natured gesture until sources revealed that Ortiz had signed a publicity contract with the maker of the cell phone and that the picture was a form of stealth advertising for the brand, something the White House frowned upon, threatening to make illegal the taking of such pictures in the future.

Because of his power, lack of speed, and tendency to pull the ball, most opposing teams play a defensive shift when Ortiz comes to the plate: three infielders will usually position themselves between first and second base, with the second baseman in short right field, and the third baseman will play in the normal shortstop position.

Below is a list of his walk-off home runs:

Date Opponent Opposing Pitcher Inning Runs Final Score
September 23, 2003 Baltimore Orioles Kurt Ainsworth 10 1 6 - 5
April 11, 2004 Toronto Blue Jays Aquilino Lopez 12 2 6 - 4
October 8, 2004 Anaheim Angels Jarrod Washburn 10 2 8 - 6
October 17, 2004 New York Yankees Paul Quantrill 12 2 6 - 4
June 2, 2005 Baltimore Orioles B.J. Ryan 9 3 6 - 4
September 6, 2005 Anaheim Angels Scot Shields 9 1 3 - 2
June 11, 2006 Texas Rangers Akinori Otsuka 9 3 5 - 4
June 24, 2006 Philadelphia Phillies Tom Gordon 10 2 5 - 3
July 31, 2006 Cleveland Indians Fausto Carmona 9 3 9 - 8
  • First player ever to hit two walk-off home runs in the same postseason (series winner vs. Angels in ALDS and ALCS Game 4 vs. Yankees).
  • Has developed a Reggie Jackson-like reputation for clutch hitting.
  • Finished 2nd in 2005 AL MVP voting to Alex Rodriguez.
  • Named "The Greatest Clutch Hitter in the History of the Boston Red Sox" by Red Sox principal owner John W. Henry on September 6, 2005.
  • First Red Sox player in history to hit 40 or more home runs in three consecutive seasons (2004-2006).

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 9-time AL All-Star (2004-2008 & 2010-2013)
  • 2004 ALCS MVP
  • 2013 World Series MVP
  • 6-time AL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2004-2007, 2011 & 2013/DH)
  • AL On-Base Percentage Leader (2007)
  • AL Total Bases Leader (2006)
  • AL Home Runs Leader (2006)
  • 2-time AL RBI Leader (2005 & 2006)
  • 2-time AL Bases on Balls Leader (2006 & 2007)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 13 (2002-2013)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 7 (2003-2007, 2010 & 2013)
  • 40-Home Run Seasons: 3 (2004-2006)
  • 50-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2006)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 7 (2003-2007, 2010 & 2013)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 3 (2005-2007)
  • Won three World Series with the Boston Red Sox (2004, 2007 & 2013)

[edit] Records Held

  • Home runs, designated hitter, season, 47, 2006
  • Home runs, designated hitter, career, 353
  • Runs batted in, designated hitter, career, 1147

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