For everything he has done for Boston and the Red Sox organization, we say thanks to David Ortiz.
Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz recently announced that he will retire at the end of the 2016 season. Growing up around the Boston area, I have had the pleasure of watching Ortiz throughout my young lifetime.
Some do not believe he is worthy of a farewell tour, and should not be celebrated. They have pointed to the steroid use that has clouded his incredible career. Steroid usage making one a better hitter is the most powerful myth in the game of baseball. Sure, power numbers are likely to increase as a result of the added strength. While this is true, hitters should not be defined so strongly by power numbers.
Players of rare talent such as Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds and Ortiz have all been linked to steroids. The one common fact these players share, they are great hitters. Batting average is what I look at most when steroid usage is brought up in discussion. Rodriguez is a .297 career hitter. Bonds is a .297 career hitter. Ortiz is a .284 career hitter.
To sit there and argue that these players are not deserving of the hall of fame or any sort of thanks after a great career because of the steroid use is astonishing to me. They would not all have 500 plus home runs if they did not have elite baseball skills and instincts. All three players deserve to be in the hall of fame when all is said and done.
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Will they be? Maybe not. All of this aside, Ortiz is right there with Yankee great Derek Jeter for being the most clutch hitter I have ever seen play. No needle can alter a player’s mentality and ability to shine on the big stage. Ortiz is and always will be Mr. Clutch in Boston.
The numbers that Ortiz has do not lie. A nine-time all-star and three-time world series champion, Ortiz has been amazing throughout his career and is still performing at a high level going into his final season. His playoff numbers are incredible and led him to being the 2004 ALCS MVP and 2013 World Series MVP.
Here are his playoff numbers in his three championship winning seasons for the Red Sox:
2004- .409 Avg 5 HR 23RBI
2007- .370 3 HR 10 RBI
2013- .353 5 HR 13 RBI
These numbers speak for themselves, and he always came through with a huge knock when the Red Sox needed him the most.
Ortiz has never shied away from the big moment on the field. Even off the field, as he stood in front of Boston fans mourning the devastating Boston Marathon Bombing tragedy and delivered a heart wrenching speech.
Ortiz is not only a great player, but he is a great man off the field. He represents the city of Boston and the game of baseball in a way that nobody can deny. There is no way to thank David Ortiz enough for all the great moments and memories he has brought to this once championship starving baseball organization and to the city that he calls home, Boston.
Cherish this last season with No. 34 wearing the Boston uniform as there may never be a player like him again to step on the beautiful landscape of Fenway Park.
Thank you, David Ortiz. You will be greatly missed.