Harold Baines, a name that many may not even of heard of before the last few days. He is a guy that just last night lost his place in the history books as David Ortiz surpassed him with a double in the 2nd inning at Safeco Field off Seattle Mariners pitcher Aaron Harang.
That history making hit was David Ortiz’s 1,689 hit as a DH. Less than 24 hours prior to that double Big Papi went 4-5 which tied him for most DH hits of all time. David had already held the records for homeruns, RBIs, and doubles with 369,1,209 and 504 respectively.
After the several talks about Ortiz being on the decline in years past, the slow starts a few seasons ago, and injuries, for him to be able to achieve these records is quite the accomplishment.
In 2008 he hit .264 followed by a .238 in 2009 then in 2010 a .270. These are the numbers that brought about the doubt and trade rumors as well as the rumors of not resigning Ortiz.
Enter the 2011 season and it seemed as though David was 5 years younger as his numbers where we all had expected them to be every season. While he gotten progressively stronger and better each season since then. In 2011 he came back and averaged over a .300 for the first time in 4 years batting a .309 followed by a .318 in 2012 and now 73 games into the season he is at an amazing pace batting .331 and already has 2 triples 19 HRs and 90 hits.
It was only a matter of time before he rose to the first name on the record books.
Wednesday night Ortiz stepped to the plate tied with Baines at 1,688 hits as a DH. A few pitches into the at bat and it’s a 3-1 count, Papi steps back un-straps then re-straps his gloves, spits on his hands, and does the patent Ortiz hand clap, then digs in at the plate as if it were just another ordinary at bat. The pitch comes down the pipe, Ortiz leans into and belts a double of the left-center field wall. As he steps onto the bag at 2nd base the big screen shows his record-breaking number and Boston and Seattle fans alike give the best DH of all time a standing ovation to which he tipped his helmet in appreciation and pounded his chest over his heart as his way of telling the fans “Thank you.”
His name will be atop that list for a long time to come. He continued to add to his number last night while going 2-3 with his second hit being a 2 run homer. He has more than half a season left to add onto his now 1,690 hits as a DH.
David Ortiz is and always be a fan favorite in Boston and as long he keeps putting up these kind of numbers then the front office too will keep liking him and resigning him as many times as he can physically play. Who doesn’t want a record breaker on their team? A 9 time All-Star? Somebody with the nickname Big Papi? Somebody that can yell “This is our F*&#ing city” on live TV and receive no punishment? I know I want him here for eternity.
The number 34 will be out in right field when all is said and done. Remember you heard it here first. Papi’s number will be retired and enter Red Sox lore forever.