My Top 10 David Ortiz Moments
Celebrating Big Papi after his Hall of Fame induction.
The 2022 Boston Red Sox make me really sad.
We had so much potential, but after a gaggle of freak injuries and some severe underperformance, I have egg on my face after predicting a deep playoff run. Yes, I even said they could win the World Series.
After the complete spanking from the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend, there was little to be excited about when it came to Red Sox baseball, except for one thing:
David Ortiz got inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
We’re no longer looking forward, the Boston Red Sox are looking back. And that starts with one of the biggest and most important sluggers in Sox history.
Big Papi defined an entire generation-plus of Red Sox fandom and everyone, myself included, is thrilled to see Papi get the recognition he deserves across all of baseball.
So, just like everyone else, allow me to break down my ten favorite Ortiz moments, on and off the field.
10. Kenan Thompson’s SNL Impression
This is my way of acknowledging the fact that David Ortiz was shot and lived. That would be kind of a weird thing to put on this list, but it shows what a badass Papi is.
This impression on SNL has always been really funny to me. Not because it’s actually funny, or because Kenan Thompson’s impression is any good, but because I just get a kick out of the fact that Papi is such a character that his personality extended beyond baseball and permeated pop culture in some way.
The Weekend Update appearances were probably the most well-received, but you can’t forget about the ‘Big Papi Cooking Show’, with bits like, “We’re going to make chicken pot pie. First, you eat a chicken. Then you smoke a little pot, and then you eat a whole pie. It’s a big Dominican lunch with Big Papi.”
9. He didn’t know Dustin Pedroia’s first name
I’ll let Pedey tell this one, courtesy of NESN:
“I had played with him, I don’t know, probably seven or eight years already. We’re on deck in between innings and a catcher goes to block a ball and it squirts over by me. The umpire wasn’t there to give him a ball right away so the catcher looked at me and goes, ‘Hey, what’s up Dustin?’ And I was like, ‘Hey, what’s up?’
David walked over and I think he was having a bad day and he goes, ‘What the (expletive) did he call you?’ And I was like, ‘He called me Dustin’ and he was like ‘Why did he call you that?’ And I was like, ‘That’s my name, man.’
He goes ‘Oh yeah, is that right? I thought it was Pee-Wee.’ We’re going back and forth. So he thought my name was Pee-Wee for the first seven years. And the funny part about it is I’d been hitting in front of him for the last seven years. And they actually announce my full name right in front of him. So either he’s locked in, or he can’t hear, or something’s going on.”
I don’t think it’s because he was locked in…
8. Destroying a dugout phone in Baltimore
I cannot believe John Farrell thought he could hold back David Ortiz…
I love a good ejection. I love it when the batter shows up the umpire by motioning where the pitch was. And, of course, I love it when the batter gets tossed and gets his money worth.
Papi does all of these things here in one of his thirteen career ejections, but what really puts it over the top is when he decided to take his bat to the bullpen phone.
Pedroia’s reactions really round out the moment to make it an all-timer.
7. Celebrating Jackie Bradley Jr.’s Grand Slam
I love the Red Sox. You love the Red Sox.
We will never love the Boston Red Sox half as much as David Ortiz does.
And I love the fact that he’s completely unapologetic about that passion. He simply does not care that he’s supposed to be unbiased as a broadcaster. A-Rod tries, but can’t do it. Papi doesn’t even try. He’s going to celebrate the Red Sox when they win just like he does in this clip from the 2018 ALCS.
6. “Man, I take you deep!”
Back-to-back moments of great Ortiz broadcasting moments.
I love this clip from the 2022 All-Star Game because it’s pretty clear that someone had the idea to just give Papi a microphone and let him run wild. He runs through the American League dugout hooping and hollering — we just get his personality on full display.
The whole segment is great, but the best part comes when he asks Blue Jays pitcher Alex Manoah how he would pitch him, and Manoah has the audacity to think he could get to Papi at all. Ortiz’s response has already entered the bank of great Papi quotes.
5. His farewell season in 2016
Big Papi’s farewell tour was so extraordinary — one of the best final seasons over age 40 in baseball history.
He hit .315/.401/.620/1.021 with 38 homers, and league-leading 48 doubles and 127 RBIs. He was an All Star and finished top 10 in AL MVP voting.
It seemed like he could have kept playing forever.
In fact, I’d take him on the team right now…
4. 2004 heroics
Big Papi wouldn’t be Big Papi without 2004.
And the Boston Red Sox wouldn’t be the Boston Red Sox we know them as today without 2004 Big Papi and his postseason heroics.
His Hall of Fame plaque reads, “Powerhouse left-handed slugger who was at his best in the clutch, with legendary playoff performances that took the Red Sox from championship drought to three World Series titles in a 10-year stretch” and that all started in ’04 when he helped reverse the curse.
That postseason, he batted .400 with five home runs and 23 RBI with the infamous ALCS Game 4 and Game 5 walk-offs fueling the Sox past the Yankees in the greatest postseason comeback ever.
3. Hall of Fame induction
Yes, this moment just happened the other day. But it’s not about his speech (which was excellent), it’s about what the moments means — a culmination of a career that is about more than being one of the best in Sox history, it’s about being one of the best in baseball history.
I’ve never been to Cooperstown, though I look forward to going in the near future. And I can’t wait to see Papi’s plaque.
2. 2013 ALCS grand slam — “David Ortiz! David Ortiz!”
I said on Twitter (see above) that this is my favorite David Ortiz moment. I guess I should have said my favorite on-field moment because you’ll see how the obvious number one on this list differs.
Just like he had done so many times before, Papi came in clutch in this infamous 2013 moment. From the first pitch swing at the changeup he wanted to Torii Hunter falling over the wall into the bullpen to the now famous bullpen cop celebrating the slam to Dave O’Brien’s stunned call on the radio where all he could muster was “David Ortiz! David Ortiz!” — it’s one of my favorite moments of my Red Sox fandom. And it’s all thanks to Papi.
1. “This is our fucking city…”
The 2013 World Series was such an important one for the city of Boston in the wake of the nightmare that occurred earlier that year at the Boston Marathon.
When the city needed a bright light, the Red Sox were that. And when they needed someone to say it will be okay, David Ortiz did it in a way that nobody else could, in a speech that still chokes us all up:
“This jersey that we wear today, it doesn’t say Red Sox, it says Boston…this is our fucking city, and nobody gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong, thank you.”
Thanks for everything, Papi.
Want to chat Red Sox? Check out Bleacher Brawls.
Want to chat baseball? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to keep updated with the column? Find it on Instagram @theboywholovedjoekelly and Twitter @boywholovedmlb