David Ortiz, known as “Big Papi,” was a first baseman and designated hitter who made his Major League Baseball debut in 1997 and played 20 seasons before retiring in 2016. While Ortiz’s Major League career began with the Minnesota Twins, he was best known for his 14 seasons in Boston with the Red Sox.
Here are a few of reasons why “Big Papi” has such a legacy in Boston:
- 2004: He helped the Red Sox end the so-called “Curse of the Bambino” by winning the team’s first World Series championship since 1918.
- 2007 and 2013: Was part of Red Sox title teams.
- 2013: He was named World Series MVP because of his impressive statistics. At 37 years old, Ortiz batted .688 in the series with two home runs, six RBIs and eight walks, finishing with a .760 on-base percentage.
Ortiz is also known for emerging as a champion for Boston after the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 200 others. The 2013 World Series win came just months after the tragedy, and Ortiz’s emotional tribute the day after police captured bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev gained national attention.
“This jersey, that we wear today, it doesn’t say ‘Red Sox. ‘It says ‘Boston,'” Ortiz said, standing on the infield as the crowd cheered police officers who were on the field.
“This is our f***ing city. And nobody’s going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong,” he said.
In his 20 seasons in the majors, Ortiz hit 541 home runs and had a career batting average of .286. He will be eligible to be on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot at the end of 2021.