So, David Ortiz is the greatest DH in baseball history.
This may not be breaking news, but at this point, it’s official. There’s no other argument to be made when you consider he plays a position based entirely on offense and is now the all-time leader in every major offensive category: Home runs. RBI. Doubles. Runs scored. Extra-base hits. And after last night, hits.
Count me among the people who never imagined we’d be having this conversation, at least this year, about Ortiz. When the season began, he and the Red Sox had one major thing in common: No one expected them to succeed. In Ortiz’s case, it was matter of age and injury; a nagging heel that would likely derail his season and ultimately his career. For the Sox, it was everything; Ortiz was one of so many questions surrounding a team that had spent the previous 18 months essentially living on rock bottom.
But three months later, the story of Ortiz and the Sox is growing more impressive by the day. It’s truly hard to believe. The Sox have the most wins in baseball. The second best run differential in baseball. If they win two of their next four games, they’ll set a new franchise record for wins before the All-Star break.
Meanwhile, as Ortiz continues to burn trails in all-time record books, his real time stats are just as jaw dropping. Four months short of his 38th birthday, Ortiz is still the team leader in home runs and RBI, despite starting the season three weeks late. He’s second in the AL in batting average, and third in OPS. In his 10th anniversary season in Boston, he’s still defying the odds, shutting up his detractors and helping raise the Sox to greater heights.
How long will it last? Obviously, we can’t be sure. While Ortiz has yet to show any serious effects from his injured heel(s), the injury hasn’t gone away. And the fear of overworking him is very real.
“I’ve felt a little stiff in that area, no question about it,” he told the Globe last week. “I haven’t been doing what they thought I should do. I think I went something like 30 games in a row and I wasn’t supposed to. That’s not going to help this.”
He added: “It’s a tough situation and it’s not going to be easy going forward.”
Then again, in the six games since he made those comments, Ortiz has gone 10-21 with three homers and six RBI, so who knows?
All we know is that is long as Ortiz keeps rolling, the Sox will follow suit. And even if he doesn’t, and this surprising season happens to meet its untimely demise, Ortiz’s legacy is timeless.
He’s the greatest DH in baseball history.