David Ortiz, born David Américo Ortiz Arias (November 18, 1975 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), is a Major League Baseball first baseman/designated hitter who plays for the Boston Red Sox (since 2003). Previously, Ortiz played for the Minnesota Twins (1997-2002). He bats and throws left-handed.
Ortiz consistently hits for power to all fields. For a slugger, he is a good two-strike hitter and a hard man to strike out. While he is below average in foot speed, Ortiz is a heads-up player who will try for the extra base hit at the right time. At first base, he catches what he gets to and has a decent arm, though he is fairly immobile on the field.
Ortiz is a career .278 hitter with 180 home runs and 478 RBI in 733 games.
In 1992, at age of 17, Ortiz signed with the Seattle Mariners. He was sent to Minnesota in 1996, and made his debut in September 1997. After moving up and down from the majors to the minors, Ortiz hit .272 with 20 home runs and 75 RBI in 2002, when the Twins lost the American League pennant to the Anaheim Angels. But Ortiz, whose left knee and right wrist had been surgically repaired, had not played in more than 130 games in a season. Thinking he was injured too often, struggled against left-handed pitching, not worked hard enough, and also fearing the money he would be awarded in arbitration, Minnesota let Ortiz go, and the Red Sox signed him for $1.25 million.
Along with Bill Mueller and Kevin Millar, Ortiz was another free agent signee who came up big for the Red Sox in 2003. A DH and fifth in the order at bat, he had a huge second half on the way to his biggest season by far, being considered by many to be the future team's franchise player. Ortiz hit .288 with 31 home runs and 101 RBI in 128 games. He finished fifth in the American League MVP selection.
In 2004 Ortiz surpassed all expectations around him by turning in a solid season. Batting in the fourth spot in the batting order, he led the American League in extra base hits (91) and was second in RBI (139); had 33 go-ahead RBI, 50 RBI with two out, and collected career highs in batting average (.301), home runs (41), RBI (139), runs (94), doubles (47), triples (3), walks (75), total bases (351), on base percentage (.359), slugging average (.517), OPS (.876) and games played (150).
In addition, Ortiz and Manny Ramirez became the first pair of American League teammates to hit 40 home runs, have 100 RBI, and bat .300 since the Yankees Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in 1931, and the first Red Sox duo with 40 homers since Tony Armas and Jim Rice (1984). Also along with Ramirez, Ortiz hit back-to-back home runs six times, tying the major league single season set by Hank Greenberg and Rudy York (Detroit Tigers) and Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordóñez (Chicago White Sox). Ortiz also hit 24 road home runs, second only to Ted Williams’ 26 in 1957. A first time All-Star, he hit a two-run home run, walked twice and scored two runs in the game.
Ortiz had one of the greatest postseasons in recent history in 2004:
- AL Division Series
- Game 3 - Tied 6-6 in the bottom of the 1oth inning at Fenway Park, hit a walk-off home run against left-handed Jarrod Wasburn on the first pitch. Boston won the series 3-0 over the Angels.
- AL Championship Series
- Game 4 - Facing the elimination 3-0 against the Yankees, won the game with another walk-off homer.
- Game 5 - Trailing 4-2 in the 8th inning, hit a home run to start a tying rally and won the game in the 14th inning with a walk-off single in a dramatic 10-pitch at-bat.
- Game 7 - In the top of the first inning, Johnny Damon was thrown out in the plate following a Manny Ramirez single, a potentially demoralizing moment for the Red Sox. However, on the very next pitch, Ortiz rocked a line drive into the right field stands for a two-run homer. The Red Sox won the game 10-4.
- After the Red Sox’ improbable comeback against the Yankees, Ortiz was selected the MVP of the 2004 ALCS.
- 2004 World Series
- Postseason accomplishments
- AL Championship Series MVP
- Tied a record with 19 RBI in the postseason (in Game One of the World Series).
- Won three playoff games at Fenway Park with walkoff hits (within the span of 11 days).
- Two of his game-winners actually came on the same calendar day (October 18).
- All-Star (2004)
- Twice Top 10 MVP (5th, 2003; 4th, 2004)
- Led league in extra base hits (2004)
- In six seasons with Minnesota, Ortiz batted .266 with 58 home runs and 238 RBI in 455 games. In two seasons with Boston, he has collected .295, 72 home runs, and 240 RBI in 278 games.
- Ortiz' big frame and great-hitting ability have led him to receive the affectionate nicknames "Big Papi" and “Cookie Monster” both from the media and the Red Sox Nation fans. His resemblance to actress Esther Rolle (who played the character Florida Evans on the TV sitcom "Good Times") has earned him the nickname "Flo."