Boston Red Sox: 30 Greatest Players in Team History

29 of 31

Jul 26, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) follows through on his second three-run home run of the game against the Detroit Tigers during the seventh inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

3: David Ortiz, 1B/DH (2003-Present)

After being non-tendered by the Minnesota Twins at 26-years-old in 2002, the career of David Ortiz was not looking so bright. However, the Red Sox took a chance on the left-handed slugger, and it turned to be arguably the best under-the-radar free agent signing of all-time. 13 incredible years in Boston later, and Ortiz is among the greats in Red Sox history.

Ortiz immediately became a true force in the middle of the Red Sox line-up, hitting .288/.369/.582 with 31 home runs and 101 during his debut season in Boston. His career arc continued to rise in the 2004 regular season, hitting .301/.380/.603 with 41 home runs and 139 RBI, before exploding that post season.

He was absolutely incredible during the Red Sox post season run that year, coming up with huge hits at the absolutely most necessary times for the Red Sox.

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He was ridiculous against the Anaheim Angels in the ALDS, hitting .545/.688/1.000 in three game sweep, incredible during their historic come-from-behind ALCS series win against the New York Yankees, hitting .387/.457/.742 while coming up with many clutch hits and taking home the ALCS MVP and of course essential in their four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

Simply put, the Red Sox would not have ended their 86 year World Series championship drought with Ortiz coming through in the biggest possible ways time and time again. He was already a Red Sox legend, and had only been with the team for two seasons.

Ortiz continued to dominate the American League, hitting .300/.397/.604 with 47 home runs and a league-leading 148 RBI in 2005. He led the league in both home runs with 54 and RBI with 137 in 2006. Ortiz led the Red Sox to a World Series title again in 2007, continuing his clutch play at the plate.

As he entered his mid-30s, Ortiz’s power number began to dip in 2008. He was still an important part of the offense, and an incredibly clutch player, but days of consistent 45+ home runs in a season were gone.

Ortiz continued to play at a high-level, being an All-Star selection in each year from 2010-2013. Following his impressive 2013 campaign, a 37-year-old Ortiz led the Red Sox to yet another World Series championship.

For the first time in his career, Ortiz was named the World Series MVP. His numbers in that six-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals are almost impossible to believe. Ortiz hit .688/.760/1.188 in those six games, proving to be a nearly impossible out for the Cardinals’ pitching staff.

There were many players who had essential parts in the Red Sox dominant run of this era. However, after the World Series championship in 2013, Big Papi is the only one who was one the team for all three championship teams. He is set to retire following the 2016 season.

One of the greatest post season hitters of all-time, over 500 career home runs and an essential part of the Red Sox teams who finally got over the hump, Ortiz is undoubtedly a legend in Boston sports history.

Next: Number Two