BOSTON – What David Ortiz accomplished in the World Series almost defies explanation.
In the Series-clinching Game 6 victory at Fenway Park Wednesday night, the Red Sox slugger went just 0-for-1 with a strikeout. But in his four other plate appearances he walked each time, including three intentional walks, tying a World Series record.
The Cardinals had seen enough of the damage Ortiz could wreak in the first five games of the series. He finished the Series with a .688 average, going 11-for-16, with a .760 on-base percentage. He posted an eye-popping 1.948 OPS.
His efforts earned him the Series Most Valuable Player award, the third player in Sox history to win the award. Manny Ramirez in 2004 and Mike Lowell in 2007 are the others.
Ortiz, the only current Red Sox player who goes back to the Sox 2004 championship, is the ninth player to win three World Series with the Sox, and the first since three players did so in 1915, 1916, and 1918. Only Harry Hooper did so in four seasons – those three, and 1912.
He had a hard time putting into words what his accomplishments meant.
“I don’t know yet,” he said. “Tomorrow I can answer that question. Right now we’re going through the motions . . . Competing against so many great teams, and when nobody give us any chance. Winning this World Series is special. I think it might be the most special out of all the World Series that I have been a part of, to be honest with you.”
True to his big-game reputation, in his World Series career Ortiz is batting .454 (20-for-44), the best average among players with at least 50 plate appearances. His 14 career World Series RBI match a team record with Dwight Evans, and are the most among active players.
He is the first Sox batter in history with three hits in consecutive games, doing so in Games 4 and 5. He was the 23rd player in history to do so, and the first since the Yankees' Johnny Damon in 2009. Only St. Louis' Lou Brock posted three hits in three straight games, in 1968. According to Elias, Ortiz, who will be 38 on Nov. 18, is the oldest player with consecutive three-hit games. He is just the second player to reach safely at least three times in five straight games in one World Series, along with Barry Bonds in 2002.
Ortiz felt a special responsibility, not just to his team, but to the city of Boston, after the tragedies of terrorist bombings at the Marathon finish line in April.
“I have to say that God never left his kids alone,” Ortiz said. “This is a city that we’ve been through a lot of situations. Even when people were trying to do the right thing to some others, it looked like it was the wrong thing to do. And the unexpected shows up. And sometimes bad things got to happen for us to get the message. And we got the message. Everybody stayed together. And it showed the whole world that this is the best country .”
He also helped to deliver his team from the chaos and dysfunction that had pervaded it since the horrific end of the 2011 season.
“Like I say since day one, a body can’t function without a good head,” Ortiz said. “And our manager [John Farrell] is outstanding. He showed to all of us since day one that he was the masterpiece that we need to get to this level. John, he did such a nice job with all of us. And our focus was coming in and do nothing but play baseball, which is different than last year. And another thing, like I always say, thank God for keeping us healthy through the year. We don’t have that many injuries as we had in years before.”
There weren’t many preseason prognosticators who had given the Sox the possibility of finishing much above .500, let alone as World Series champions. That only helped the team, Ortiz said.
“We had a little chip on our shoulder that we want to come in and put up a good run,” he said. “And thank God we did.”