Thank You, David Ortiz
This is an open letter to the greatest DH to play the game of baseball
Dear David Ortiz,
Hey Big Papi, for almost 15 years you have brought life back into the Boston Red Sox. When you came here in 2003 many fans were skeptical about how good you would do here and doubted your ability to lead, wow are they wrong now. 2003 was a very good year for the whole team but you started off slowly. You had to work for your spot and boy did you ever. Playing sparingly at first and sometimes at DH we thought you had a lot of potential and then manager Grady Little saw that it was your time to shine. And you shined brighter than the stars in the sky.
Replacing Jeremy Giambi was only the first part of a legendary career, you came in and proved that you truly belong in this organization. 2003 was one of those years that we can look back and say “this was the birth of Big Papi” because after replacing Giambi you had 31 home runs, 101 RBIs, .288 batting average and finished fifth in AL MVP voting. You did all of this without playing a full season, that’s how good we all knew you were going to be. Although the 2003 season ended in heartbreak you knew greater things were in your future.
2004 was probably the most magical and historic year in Red Sox history. We had one of the greatest teams ever assembled and you were at the helm. Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Johnny Damon and Curt Schilling are just a couple of names on that roster that brought life back into Red Sox Nation. 41 homers, 139 RBIs while batting .301 could we have asked for more? Well we did and you delivered. It all started in the ALDS when you hit a walk off to send the Los Angeles Angels home packing then we were on to the ALCS in which we played a familiar foe, the New York Yankees. This is one of the best performances Boston has ever seen by a team in history. If you recall we were down 3-0 and all hope seemed lost in game 4 until you showed the city that you are the hero we need. Game 4, 12th inning, with our backs against the wall you sent a shot out of Fenway to keep the season and the series alive. Game 5, 14th inning, while this time it wasn’t a homer you hit a walk off single to keep our season alive once again. Then game 6 and 7 we took care of business and completed a miracle comeback to advance to the World Series. You helped out in every which way possible to try and end the curse of the Bambino. Game 1 of the series in the first inning you hit a 3 run jack to set the tone for the whole series and by batting .308 for the whole series, you and the rest of the team finally ended the curse of the Bambino and lifted a World Series trophy for the first time in 86 years. Oh and also it was lovely to see you hit your 100th career homer in Fenway that season as well
Some say this was only the real beginning of your legendary career.
At the beginning of the 2005 season, you were given a plaque that said you were the greatest clutch hitter in the history of the Boston Red Sox and you were only in your third year with the team. Think about that for a second, in just your THIRD YEAR you were already the greatest clutch hitter in the history of the Sox. That’s how much faith and belief we had in you and for 14 years you never let us down once. In 2005 you had 47 homers, 148 RBIs and batted a perfect .300. It seemed with each passing year you got better and better.
While 2005 was fantastic, 2006 was legendary because this is when you cemented yourself as one of the greatest Red Sox to ever play. 54 HOME RUNS, a new Red Sox record. 54 home runs is just monstrous and something that is done in video games yet you proved that your greatness was on display that whole year. Breaking Jamie Foxx’s record is no easy task but you made it look effortless and made it look like you could do it all again. You also hit your 200th career homer in Fenway in 2006 too which only added to an already legendary season.
Well let me tell you about the 2007 season. While it didn’t feel as magical as the 2004 season, it felt dominant and you lead the charge throughout the whole year. 35 homers, 117 RBIs while batting .332, it seemed like every year you came so close to winning the AL MVP but it always evaded you, it didn’t really matter if you won it because you were our MVP. Another World Series, another sweep. By hitting 3 homers, 10 RBIs and batting .370 you helped us win our second World Series in three years. Now this is when people truly knew how legendary you were and how you would be forever engraved in the annals of time in Red Six history.
2009 was the year you cemented yourself as the greatest DH of all time. You hit your 300th career homer in Fenway, it seems like you liked hitting milestone homers there and you also hit your 270th homer as a DH which broke the all time record held by the great Frank Thomas. in 2011, you broke the RBI record for DH’s which really meant that you were the greatest of all time and you also hit your 300th home run as a member of the Red Sox joining Yaz, Ted Williams, Jim Rice and Dwight Evans. In 2012 you hit your 400th career homer, while this one wasn’t in Fenway you kept solidifying yourself as the greatest Red Sox ever.
When tragedy struck our great city in 2013, you were there for us you rallied around us and ignited a fire in the hearts of every person in the city. “This is our f**king city and nobody is gonna dictate our freedom, stay strong!”. Those words will last in infamy in the minds of Red Sox fans every where because you spit in the face of evil and showed heart, determination and resiliency. As a result of that you helped us win the 2013 World Series. the grand slam in the 2013 ALCS is one of the most historic things I have ever seen and just added to your legacy. We needed you most and yet again you delivered. It was truly spectacular.
in 2015 you hit your 500th career homer, becoming the 27th person ever to accomplish that.
You looked to be coming to the end of your career and we all knew the day was coming but none of us were prepared for it. You announced that the 2016 season would be your last and broke the hearts of Sox fans every where. You did go out with a bang however and showed no rust the entire year. You joined Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds as the only players with 500 homers and 600 RBIs for their careers. You had us in disbelief the whole year and you looked like you could play another five years. The season may have ended in ways we wish it hadn’t and seeing you say goodbye was a hard thing to do but to quote the great Dr Seuss “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”.
You still continue to be a great humanitarian as well. You foundation has helped over 550 kids in the Caribbean get heart surgeries to save their lives so not only are you the greatest DH of all time, you are also a hero. You are a hero to the kids you’ve saved and fans everywhere, you are one of my heroes. You helped bring life back into Red Sox Nation, I cannot stress that enough. You gave us hope when it seemed lost, you lit a fire in our hearts when we needed it most and you helped bring 3 championships to the great city of Boston. Thank you for your sacrifice, your heart, your determination and the memories Big Papi.
The next time we will see you will be in Cooperstown.