BOSTON (CBS) — David Ortiz has had an incredible and historic career with the Boston Red Sox, capped off over the weekend with the slugger clubbing his 500th career home run.
The three-time World Series champ will go down as one of the best hitters to ever play for the team, and you can thank one man for bringing Big Papi to Boston: Pedro Martinez.
Dan Roche and Tony Massarotti reminisced about Ortiz’s arrival in Boston on Monday night’s Inside Baseball on the WBZ-TV News at 10 on myTV38. Ortiz was released by the Minnesota Twins in December 2002, and after a month on the free agent block and no offers, it didn’t look like his career would continue. Then one night he saw Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez out at dinner, and asked his fellow Dominican to see if he could find him a team.
Martinez made one phone call, and Ortiz was signed by the Red Sox shortly after.
“Because of one phone call from Pedro to Larry Lucchino, then to Theo Epstein, led to Ortiz being signed,” recalls Roche. “Look at how much that has changed Red Sox history.”
With “on-base machine” Jeremy Giambi penciled in at first base to start the 2003 season, the two-time World Series MVP had to wait for a full-time job his first year in Boston. He had just 103 at-bats when June 1 hit, but when the Red Sox made a change from Giambi, Ortiz took off. He hit .324 in June and then blasted 19 homers in July and August, finishing the season with 31 homers and 101 RBIs in 128 games.
That was just the beginning of the legend that is David Ortiz.
“Given where his career was when he came to Boston in 2003, and everyone thought he was done, this is a phenomenal achievement,” Mazz said of Ortiz joining the 500 club. “David Ortiz is the best DH to ever play, period, end of story.”
Roche and Massarotti also discuss Ortiz’s Hall of Fame credentials, with both agreeing he has a place in Cooperstown. Tune in to Inside Baseball every Monday night on the WBZ-TV News at 10 on myTV38!