For the second straight spring, David Ortiz has busted out of the gate like a man possessed. Possessed by what? Well, that’s for Dan Shaughnessy to decide. While we wait, let’s take a look at Ortiz’s latest hot start through the spectrum of Red Sox history.
The idea for this post was born on Saturday afternoon, when Ortiz delivered his 38th multi-home run game of his Sox career, and in the process, surpassed Ted Williams for the most multi-home run games in team history.
Upon hearing this little fun fact, I was shocked. I mean, obviously Ortiz has hit an insane number of homers during his decade-plus in Boston, but when a guy leap-frogs Teddy Ballgame in the record books, it’s time to take notice. Which is what I’ll do right now, with a quick rundown of where Ortiz stands in the annals of Sox slugging history.
First of all, let’s set the stage with two broader background stats. Just to give the rankings a little context:
1. Ortiz ranks 10th all-time with 1402 games played for Boston. Of the nine guys ahead of him, six are in the Hall of Fame (Yaz, Williams, Jim Rice, Bobby Doerr, Harry Hooper and Wade Boggs); the three others are Dwight Evans, Rico Petrocelli and Jason Varitek.
2. He also ranks 10th all-time in plate appearance (the top nine is the same except Dom DiMaggio is in for Varitek.)
Moving on . . .
Home runs: Ortiz has hit 350 home runs in Boston, which ranks fifth behind Williams (521), Yaz (452), Rice (382) and Evans (379).
My calculator tells me that he need 33 more to take over third place. My gut says it’s going to be real close.
RBI: He’s one of only six Sox with more than 1000 RBI (1117) and ranks sixth on that list, behind the Big Four (see home runs) and Bobby Doerr.
He needs 131 more to jump into fifth, which is certainly possible but by no means guaranteed.
Doubles: Once again, he’s fifth with 383, behind Williams, Yaz, Evans and trails Boggs by 39 for fourth place.
Can’t confirm this but there’s a good chance that he ranks first in doubles that would have been triples had they been hit by anyone else.
Hits: On Saturday, Papi passed Ted Williams for most career multi-homer games, but the night before brought another milestone when he became only the ninth player in history to amass more than 1500 hits in a Sox uniform.
Thanks to a great weekend, Ortiz is now at 1506, and trails DiMaggio by 174 for eighth place.
Walks: There might be a pattern here — Ortiz is also fifth all time in walks, behind the familiar foursome of Williams, Yaz, Evans and Boggs. But here’s an interesting side stat:
Of the top five Sox walkers, only two (Ortiz and Dewey) have fewer walks than strike outs.
Ortiz has drawn 833 walks and struck out 1060 times. Evans drew 1337 walks and struck out 1643 times.
As for the other three: Yaz had an impressive 1845/1393 split (that’s 1.32 walks/K). Boggs finished with 1004/470 (2.14) and Williams wrapped up his ridiculous career with a ridiculous 2021 walks and only 709 strike outs (2.85)
Runs: With 75 more runs scored, Ortiz will become the eighth player in team history with 1000 for his career. He’s currently ninth overall.
Just for fun . . .
Stolen Bases: Ortiz is tied for 70th in Red Sox history with seven career stolen bases. Among those with whom he shares the 70th slot: Manny Ramirez, Cy Young, Jose Canseco, Todd Benzinger and the great Hoot Evers.
But before you make fun of Ortiz, it’s worth noting that with one more stolen bases he’ll move into a tie for 69th with Rickey Henderson.
Triples: He’s tied for 45th with 13 triples, along with noted legends Dennis Doyle, Carl Reynolds and Tom McBride — and also Hall of Famer Jesse Burkett.
On the bright side, he does have one more triple than Coco Crisp, two more than Dustin Pedroia and 13 more than Rick Garces.
In closing . . .
This Ortiz fella has had a pretty damn good career.
Has he been clean the whole time? Should he be safe from speculation?
Probably not and definitely not, but while that song and dance will likely last for an eternity, the one thing we can be sure is that Ortiz has left an indelible stamp on the Red Sox record books, and he ain’t done yet.