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Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Fan Picks Papi’s Ten Best (Red Sox) Moments

So this list is just meant to be related to his time with the Red Sox.  I don’t feel like getting in a spitting match over his first hit or home run or grand slam (at Fenway!) or walk off and I’m not knowledgeable enough about his Minnesota time to consider any of those events seriously.  In keeping with the low key approach that the Sox will be taking to Papi’s regular season send off this weekend here is one man’s opinion of David Ortiz’ greatest moments (so far);

10 – Catches Jeff Suppan off third (Game Three, 2004 World Series)

One of the big stories leading into that World Series was how Big Papi would handle first base.  He was rightly viewed as a defensive question mark and while this wasn’t a particularly difficult play there were a lot of ways he could have messed it up.  He didn’t.  It was just one of many many little things that went so right for the Sox those last eight games of the 2004 playoffs.

9 - Speech in St. Louis (Game Four, 2013 World Series)

With the Sox down 2 games to 1 and deadlocked at one in the sixth inning of game four of the World Series the big man got verbal.  You don’t see in game team meetings in baseball too often but Papi brought the club together for an impromptu “let’s go” session before the sixth inning started.  He then drew a walk as part of a perfect night at the plate (3 for 3 with the walk) and when Jonny Gomes launched a three run homer, the Sox were back in the series.

8 - Double off Foulke (Game Four, 2003 ALDS)

It’s hard to remember or believe but David Ortiz’ post-season career started poorly.  When he stepped to the plate against future Boston hero Keith Foulke he was 0 for 17 and the Sox were four outs away from a golf outing.  He roped a 3-2 pitch to the bullpen wall for a go ahead double and a post-season legend was born.

7 - Walk off versus Cleveland (July 31, 2006)

2006 was not a great year for the Sox but it was for Big Papi.  His club record 54 homers were the high point but it was a summer stretch when he walked the Sox off three times in just over a month that really resonated.  The last two came in a three day stretch against Anaheim then the Tribe.

What made this memorable is not the home run off Fauxto Carmona but the reaction to it.  Pro athletes are rarely astounded at something a fellow player does.  I remember a great clip of Delmon Young watching a Jim Thome homer in awe in Minnesota that really drove home what a great blow it was.  On this night in Boston it was Mike Lowell, clearly in awe practically in tears of joy and amazement at what he had just seen.  I’ll never forget that look on Lowell’s face, it was a fellow professional genuinely amazed at what his teammate had done.

6 - Walk off vs. Anaheim (Game Three, 2004 ALDS)

Oh now we are getting good.  We all remember this one, well my father doesn’t.  I accidentally knocked his hat over his eyes in excitement but he didn’t seem to mind so much.  That game was such an “old Red Sox” game with the Sox blowing a big lead when Vladimir Guerrero hit a grand slam off Timlin.  But rather than another post-season devastation, it was Ortiz to the rescue and not for the last time that month.

5 - First Inning home run sends the Sox off and running (Game Seven, 2004 ALCS)

The last 23 innings of the 2004 ALCS went pretty well for the Sox and Ortiz was a big reason for that obviously.  After Johnny Damon was gunned down at the plate on a Manny Ramirez single it was Ortiz who promptly took the first pitch he saw and lined it into the right field seats that threw down the gauntlet with a virtual “not tonight Yankees, not tonight.”  I hope Dale Sveum bought him a really nice dinner as thanks.

4 - Walk off at 1:23 AM (Game Four, 2004 ALCS)

He finally made Joe Torre pay for the repeated walks of Manny Ramirez when he struck a Paul Quantrill pitch into the Yankee bullpen.  I still have the note on my scorecard that it was 1:23 AM as he pranced around the bases.  At the time it was a thrilling win but still down 3 games to 1 obviously it was unlikely that the Sox were coming back, right?

3 – 19 hours and 37 minutes later (Game Five, 2004 ALCS)

This is the moment it changed for me.  This is the one I will always remember him for.  It was not just the clutch nature of it and the Texas leaguer was certainly no mighty blow, but the reaction was different from anything I’d ever experienced at Fenway.  It was not just joyous but spastic.  The place just went bonkers, it was not sane in any way.  Then the emotion leaving the park that night was something else.  I will never forget walking onto Landsdowne Street as 30,000 partisans chanted “Sox in seven” clap clap clapclapclap.  There was a communal belief unlike any I had experienced.


2 – “David Ortiz! David Oritz! David Ortiz!” (Game Two, 2013 ALCS)

I don’t know, maybe game five in 2004 belongs here but this one…I mean there was something about it.  It’s one thing to do it on so many occasions but as Tim McCarver said in 2004 “he didn’t do it again did he? Yes he did.”  Beyond that it was that this was the only hope.  If the Tigers keep Papi in the ballpark then they probably win the game and the series.  A grand slam is what the Sox needed, a grand slam is what the Sox got and with an iconic visual of friend and former teammate Torii Hunter flipping over the bullpen wall and officer Steve Horgan raising his arms in triumph.

1 - This is our F*ck!ng city! (April 20, 2013)

I know people will have different thoughts but for me this is the moment his statue started being conceived.  New Englanders are notoriously provincial, you are either one of us or you are from away.  While Ortiz was beloved before this it went to a different level here.  What that passionate speech meant to the people of Boston in the wake of the Marathon bombing is the moment when he went from great player to legend.  I fully expect a David Ortiz statue to join Yaz, Ted and the Teammates and I fully expect it to be in the pose of him standing with his arm raise exulting the people of Boston.

Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 29, 2016 at 11:43 PM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: September 30, 2016 at 09:28 AM (#5310393)
I was at five of these games, and I'm getting goosebumps thinking about some of them.

7 - Walk off versus Cleveland (July 31, 2006)

2006 was not a great year for the Sox but it was for Big Papi. His club record 54 homers were the high point but it was a summer stretch when he walked the Sox off three times in just over a month that really resonated. The last two came in a three day stretch against Anaheim then the Tribe.
Discussion from the time about why this one felt different.

   2. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 30, 2016 at 09:35 AM (#5310399)
Thanks for that vi. That predates my BTF time so I hadn't seen that thread. Glad to know my recollection wasn't off. I distinctly remember watching the game standing in my bedroom and losing my ####. My brother called me and just said "he's not human."
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: September 30, 2016 at 09:51 AM (#5310414)
I was at five of these games, and I'm getting goosebumps thinking about some of them.
Nice. I was at 2 of them and I'm having trouble resisting the urge to just spend my workday down a rabbit-hole of youtube ortiz highlights.

Honorable mentions (for games I witnessed in person):

Walk-off homer in the Todd Walker game - Obviously, the 3-run Walker HR to tie it with 2 outs in the 9th was the signature moment; but an inning later Ortiz hits his first Sox walk-off homer (2nd walk-off hit) to left.
Sets Sox single-season HR record in 2006 - Off of Johan Santana.
Tying triple and winning double - vs Astros this year.

Other honorable mentions:

Game 7 HR in '03 - Any game 7 HR against the Yankees is huge in my book.
Game 5 HR off Gordon in '04 - This game took months off of my life.
Upcoming 2016 playoff moment - ?
   4. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 30, 2016 at 10:29 AM (#5310444)
Dammit...I meant to include an honorable mention and the Walker game, the Houston game and Game 7 in '03 were on that list. Good call on the single season HR record and the Tom Gordon homer. I hadn't thought of those. I also had #500 (there was something amazing about doing it in his first shot) and the destruction of the phone in Baltimore.


I was at five of these games, and I'm getting goosebumps thinking about some of them.


Heh, so was I? Overlap?

Game 4 2003
Game 3 2004
Game 4 2004
Game 5 2004
Game 2 2013
   5. Nasty Nate Posted: September 30, 2016 at 10:51 AM (#5310459)
Another honorable mention has to be the first inning homer in game 1 of the aught-four world series.
   6. Nasty Nate Posted: September 30, 2016 at 11:00 AM (#5310464)
Obscure Ortiz playoff moments (that I didn't remember off the top of my head but found on bbref):

As he was responsible for the last Sox run of the 2003 ALCS, he also started their scoring with a 2-run home run off of Mussina in the game 1 victory.

The game-tying hit in Game 6 of that same series. I remember Garciaparra's little league home run to start the rally, but don't remember the Ortiz hit.

Big 3-run homer in the crazy game 5 comeback in '08.

Apparently had 2 homers off of David Price in the game 2 win in the 2013 ALDS. I was at a wedding that night so missed most of this.
   7. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 30, 2016 at 11:03 AM (#5310468)
I had forgotten about the Moose homer and Game 6 tying hit. That Game 5 comeback I remember feeling the same way as I did about the Benoit homer. I couldn't figure out why Maddon didn't go to a lefty, keep Papi in the ballpark and you wrap the game and series up.

The Price game was the one that sparked a bit of back and forth and led to Tampa throwing at Papi the next year.
   8. villageidiom Posted: September 30, 2016 at 11:09 AM (#5310473)
Heh, so was I? Overlap?
We were both season ticketholders at the time. Other than 2007 ALCS Game 1 (business trip to Vegas) I was at every home playoff game from 1999 to 2013.
   9. Nasty Nate Posted: September 30, 2016 at 11:24 AM (#5310491)
I couldn't figure out why Maddon didn't go to a lefty, keep Papi in the ballpark and you wrap the game and series up.
Drew's homer the following inning was also off of a righty. Unfortunately, Maddon learned his lesson in time for game 7.
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: September 30, 2016 at 12:01 PM (#5310530)
Here's Ortiz' HR off Mussina in game 1 - upper deck no-doubter in Yankee Stadium. Mussina would get revenge with a (retrospectively) huge K of Ortiz with 2 on in game 7.

Here is the game 6 RBI single - a hard-hit ball that hit first base.
   11. Burn, Don't Freese! Posted: September 30, 2016 at 01:03 PM (#5310575)
Not a playoff moment, but this one was pretty awesome. He had a walkoff double against the Tigers in 2010 (I think it was the day Kalish made his MLB debut). He hit a grand slam in the 9th inning the day before to pull the Sox within a run (they lost 6-5).

Video of said walkoff.
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: September 30, 2016 at 01:43 PM (#5310614)
Not a playoff moment, but this one was pretty awesome. He had a walkoff double against the Tigers in 2010
Yes that's a good one.
   13. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 30, 2016 at 02:15 PM (#5310636)
The only non-playoff walkoff of Ortiz' that I saw in person was the one of Pena in 2009 (I think). A rocket down the right field line, it was thing of beauty.
   14. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 30, 2016 at 02:32 PM (#5310658)
This thread is a great example of why those who compare Ortiz's HOF chances to, say, Edgar Martinez, are completely off-base (nothing against Edgar, who was awesome). How many baseball players could generate a thread with 10 memorable moments...and then a bunch of people offering up additional great walk-off moments? If you want to argue that you can't have memorable playoff moments if your team doesn't make the playoffs frequently, that's fine. Reggie Jackson was "Reggie", in part, because his teams were making the playoffs every year between 1971 and 1982 except for '76 and '79 - despite the fact he was on four different teams during that period. The sheet amount of drama in which Ortiz had been a part is matched by only a handful of players in MLB history - and most of those players did it with the Yankees.

First ballot Hall of Famer, with a legit chance of walking off into the sunset being the best hitter on a World Series champion. Pretty awesome.
   15. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 30, 2016 at 07:37 PM (#5310882)
You know I'm fully aware of how lucky we've been this past decade and change but there is something about seeing moments squeezed into a montage while Whitney Houstons One Moment In Time that drives home just how damned many of these moments there have been!
   16. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 30, 2016 at 10:25 PM (#5311018)
Add September 30, 2016 to the honorable mention list. That was awesome.
   17. Dale Sams Posted: October 01, 2016 at 09:01 AM (#5311122)
This thread is a great example of why those who compare Ortiz's HOF chances to, say, Edgar Martinez, are completely off-base (nothing against Edgar, who was awesome). How many baseball players could generate a thread with 10 memorable moments...and then a bunch of people offering up additional great walk-off moments? If you want to argue that you can't have memorable playoff moments if your team doesn't make the playoffs frequently, that's fine. Reggie Jackson was "Reggie", in part, because his teams were making the playoffs every year between 1971 and 1982 except for '76 and '79 - despite the fact he was on four different teams during that period. The sheet amount of drama in which Ortiz had been a part is matched by only a handful of players in MLB history - and most of those players did it with the Yankees.

First ballot Hall of Famer,


Exactly re: people don't get the HOF.

Really the only thing that could stop him would be some kind of Schilling-like series of disasters in the next few years.
   18. Nasty Nate Posted: October 01, 2016 at 10:49 AM (#5311137)
Officially Sox-Indians in the ALDS, starting Thursday with homefield TBD.

I think Ortiz, Pedroia, and Crisp are only people who will have played in both this series and the 07 one. Farrell and Francona were there in 07 too.
   19. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: October 02, 2016 at 09:45 AM (#5311497)
First two days the Sox have done a great job in my opinion. The pregame stuff has been really well done. Today should be interesting. After honoring his off field contributions in the Dominican and in Boston I would expect today to celebrate the on field accomplishments. I'm looking fonward to seeing what players show up.
   20. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: October 02, 2016 at 01:35 PM (#5311571)
Anyone know what the best viewing option is for out-of-towners for the pregame ceremony today?
   21. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: October 02, 2016 at 01:43 PM (#5311575)
NESN was promoting some kind of NESN National or something like that the other day as a way to watch the Ortiz specials they did. That might be an option. I wouldn't be surprised if MLB Network ran it also.
   22. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: October 02, 2016 at 02:33 PM (#5311601)
Wow, they are NOT waiting to put Papi on a pedestal. Retiring his number NEXT YEAR.
   23. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: October 03, 2016 at 08:38 AM (#5311962)
I went to all three games this weekend, it was a wonderful series of ceremonies. Papi seemed genuinely moved by the gifts yesterday (most notably the donation to his foundation). I was going through some of my pictures and it was really neat to see the way the ex-players interacted. There seemed to be people having an awfully good time. Papi is Papi of course so he was doing his thing but one guy he seemed to really react too in an excited way was J.D. Drew.

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