David Américo Ortiz Arias (born November 18, 1975), nicknamed “Big Papi“, is a Dominican American professional baseball player who plays for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB). Ortiz is a designated hitter (DH) who occasionally plays first base. He previously played for the Minnesota Twins from 1997–2002.
Ortiz hit 541 career home runs, which ranks 17th on the MLB all-time home run list. He is the all-time leader in MLB history for home runs (485), runs batted in(RBIs) (1,569), and hits (2,192) by a DH.
Ortiz graduated from Estudia Espaillat High School in the Dominican Republic and in 1992 he was signed by the Seattle Mariners, who listed him as “David Arias”. He played for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, a Mariners farm team, until 1996, when he was traded to the Minnesota Twins as the player to be named later in an earlier transaction for Dave Hollins. When he arrived in Minnesota, he informed the team that he preferred to be listed as “David Ortiz.”
Minnesota Twins (1997–2002)
Ortiz made his Major League debut for the Twins on September 2, 1997. For several years, he split playing time between the Twins and their minor league affiliate in Connecticut, the New Britain Rock Cats, playing at first base and as a DH. Ortiz battled a series of injuries and inconsistency in the field and at the plate. Ortiz suffered wrist injuries in both 1998 and 2001. In early 2002, he continued to experience knee problems that lingered throughout the season, despite hitting 20 home runs, 75 runs batted in (RBIs) and 32 doubles in 125 games.
The Twins released Ortiz after the season, after finding themselves unable to find a team willing to trade for him. In parts of six seasons totaling 455 games with the Twins, Ortiz hit 58 home runs and had 238 RBIs.
Boston Red Sox (2003–present)
On January 22, Ortiz signed a free agent contract with the Boston Red Sox. He played sparingly in the first two months of the season, primarily pinch hitting and starting occasionally as a Designated Hitter. On June 1, manager Grady Little benched Jeremy Giambi and inserted Ortiz into the starting lineup as the full-time DH. Ortiz hit 8 home runs in July and 11 in August. He finished the season with 31 home runs, 101 RBIs and a .288 average, finishing fifth in the American League MVP voting.
In the postseason, Ortiz struggled in the ALDS against the Oakland A’s until Game 4, when he hit a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning off closer Keith Foulke to give the Red Sox the lead. In the ALCS against the New York Yankees, Ortiz had 2 home runs and 6 RBIs as Boston lost in seven games.
Ortiz played a major role in leading the Red Sox to their first World Series championship in 86 years. During the regular season, Ortiz hit 41 home runs and had 139 RBIs while batting .301 with an on base plus slugging (OPS) of .983. He finished second in the American League in both home runs and RBIs. He was voted to the All-Star team for the first time in his career, and finished fourth in American League MVP voting.
In the playoffs, Ortiz hit .409 with 5 home runs and 23 RBIs. He had multiple game-winning hits to help Boston advance to and ultimately win the World Series. He hit a walk-off home run off of Jarrod Washburnin the 10th inning of Game 3 to win the American League Division Series against the Anaheim Angels. In the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, he hit a walk-off two-run home run against Paul Quantrill in the 12th inning of Game 4 and a walk-off single off of Esteban Loaiza in the 14th inning of Game 5. His heroics earned him MVP honors, the first time a DH had ever won that award. In the World Series vs. the St. Louis Cardinals, Ortiz hit a three-run home run off of Woody Williams in the 1st inning of Game 1 at Fenway Park. He hit .308 in the series as the Red Sox swept the Cardinals to end the Curse of the Bambino.
Ortiz was suspended for three games after being ejected, following an incident on July 16 in a game against the Angels in which he threw onto the field several bats that came close to hitting umpires Bill Hohnand Mark Carlson.
Ortiz hit 47 home runs, had 148 RBIs, and batted .300 with an OPS of 1.001. He led the American League in RBIs, while finishing second in home runs and third in OPS. Ortiz finished second in the American League MVP voting to Alex Rodriguez while leading the Red Sox to their third consecutive playoff appearance, where they lost in the first round to the eventual champion White Sox.
Ortiz hit a career high 54 home runs (setting a new Red Sox record) and had 137 RBIs while batting .287 with an OPS of 1.049. He led the American League in both home runs and RBIs, winning the home-run crown by 10 over Jermaine Dye. He finished third in the American League MVP voting.
On April 10, Ortiz signed a four-year, $52 million contract extension with the Red Sox. The contract also included a team option for a fifth year.
On September 21 at Fenway Park, Ortiz broke Foxx’s record by hitting his 51st home run off Johan Santana of the Twins. The home run was his 44th of the season as a Designated Hitter, breaking his own American League single-season record.
Ortiz helped lead the Red Sox to their seventh World Series title. In the regular season, he had 35 home runs and 117 RBIs while batting .332, placing him in the top 10 in the American League in all three categories. In addition, he hit 52 doubles, led the American League in extra base hits and had an OPS of 1.066. He finished fourth in the American League MVP voting.
In the postseason, Ortiz batted .370 with 3 home runs and 10 RBIs as Boston swept the Colorado Rockies to win the World Series.
Ortiz started slowly after suffering a wrist injury which caused him to miss several weeks. He played in a total of 109 games and finished the season with 23 home runs and 89 RBIs while batting .264.
Ortiz struggled early in the season, hitting only .206 with no home runs and 30 strikeouts in his first 34 games. On May 22, he hit his first home run of the season off Brett Cecil of the Toronto Blue Jays, ending a career-high 178 homerless at-bat streak. In June, Ortiz broke out of his slump by hitting 7 home runs with 22 RBI. He hit 7 home runs each in July and August. He finished the season with 28 home runs and 99 RBIs with a .238 average.
Ortiz hit 32 home runs, had 102 RBIs and batted .270, finishing in the top 10 in the American League in home runs and RBIs.
Ortiz finished the season with 29 home runs and 96 RBIs while batting .309.
On April 2, Ortiz set the record for RBIs by a designated hitter with 1,004, passing Edgar Martínez.
On July 15, Ortiz was suspended for 4 games for his part in a brawl that took place on July 8 in a game against the Baltimore Orioles. Ortiz charged Orioles pitcher Kevin Gregg after a brushback pitch and an exchange of words, triggering a bench-clearing brawl.
On July 16, Ortiz suffered an injury to his right Achilles tendon and was placed on the DL on July 19. He returned on August 24, returned to the DL on August 27 after playing just 1 game. He finished the season with 23 home runs and 60 RBIs while batting .318 in 90 games.
Ortiz once again was a major factor as he helped lead the Red Sox to their eighth World Series championship. During the regular season, he hit 30 home runs, had 103 RBIs and batted .309. He finished in the top 10 in all 3 categories in the American League.
In the postseason, Ortiz had 5 home runs and 13 RBIs while batting .353. In Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, he hit 2 home runs off of Rays’ ace pitcher David Price. In Game 2 of the American League Championship Series vs the Detroit Tigers, Ortiz hit a dramatic, game-tying grand slam off of reliever Joaquín Benoit in the bottom of the 8th inning, helping propel the Red Sox to victory. In the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Ortiz hit home runs in both games 1 and 2, had 6 RBIs and batted .688 as the Red Sox won the series 4–2. As a result of his performance, Ortiz was awarded the World Series Most Valuable Player award.
On April 20, before the first game played at Fenway Park since the Boston Marathon bombings and his first since August 2012 after an Achilles tendon injury, Ortiz spoke to the crowd and stated, “This is our fucking city, and no one is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.”
Ortiz reached several career milestones in 2013, including his 500th career double on July 2 and his 2,000th career hit on September 4. On July 10, Ortiz passed Harold Baines to become the all-time leader for hits by a DH with 1689.
On July 27, Ortiz was ejected by home-plate umpire Tim Timmons for arguing balls and strikes in a game against the Baltimore Orioles. After his ejection, Ortiz used his bat to smash a pressbox phone in the dugout. Major League Baseball decided not to suspend Ortiz for the incident.
Ortiz gained several new nicknames from the media and his teammates as a result of his great postseason play such as “Señor Octubre“ and “Cooperstown“. He also finished third in Boston’s mayoral race that year with 560 write-in votes.
Ortiz finished the season with 35 home runs, 104 RBIs and a .263 average, placing in the top 10 in the American League in both home runs and RBIs.
On March 23, Ortiz signed a one-year, $16 million contract extension for the 2015 season. The extension also included two team option years to potentially keep him under contract with the Red Sox through the 2017 season.
During a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 31, Ortiz was hit by a pitch from future Red Sox pitcher David Price, leading to both benches being warned. Price later hit Mike Carp which led to both benches clearing and an enraged Ortiz shouting at Price.
In a Boston Globe article, Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski called David Ortiz the second greatest hitter in club history, stating “I would say as a hitter, I would say he’s next to Ted [Williams].
Ortiz hit 37 home runs and had 108 RBIs while batting .273. He finished in the top 10 in the American League in both home runs and RBIs for the eighth time in his career.
On April 19, in a game at Fenway Park vs. the Baltimore Orioles, Ortiz was ejected for arguing a check swing call. While arguing, Ortiz slightly bumped into umpireJohn Tumpane. Two days later, MLB suspended Ortiz one game and fined him an undisclosed amount.
On July 14, in an announcement prior to the MLB All Star Game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ortiz was selected as one of the “Franchise Four” of the Boston Red Sox. The selection of the “Franchise Four” (the greatest four players of all time for every MLB team) was determined by online voting by fans on theMLB.com website. Along with Ortiz, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski and Pedro Martínez were selected as the four greatest players in Boston Red Sox history.
On September 5, at Fenway Park, Ortiz hit his 30th home run of the season off of Jerome Williams of the Philadelphia Phillies. This marked the ninth time that Ortiz hit 30 or more home runs in a season, the most in Red Sox history.
On September 12, in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, Ortiz hit his 500th career home run off of Rays pitcher Matt Moore. He became only the 27th player in MLB history to reach that milestone.
In the final season of his career, Ortiz hit 38 home runs and had 127 RBIs while batting .315. He finished in the top 10 in the American League in home runs and RBIs for the ninth time in his career. He finished tied for first in the American League in RBIs with Edwin Encarnacion. Ortiz led the American League and Major League baseball with a 1.021 OPS and in doubles with 48.
On May 14, at Fenway Park 2016, Ortiz batted home both the game-tying run in the ninth inning and the game-winning run in extra innings as he doubled, tripled and homered against the Houston Astros. The double was a walk-off hit to lift the Red Sox to a 6–5 win in the 11th inning, his 20th career walk-off hit. The triple had tied the scored in the ninth inning, and, in a career where he averaged approximately one triple per season, this game marked the first time he had at least one of each type of extra base hit in the same game. The double was the 600th of Ortiz’ career, making him the 15th player all time to reach the milestone. He also joined Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds as the third player with 500 career home runs and 600 career doubles.
After hitting his 30th home run on August 24, Ortiz became the oldest major leaguer to do so, and also reached 100 RBI. It was the tenth time in his career he reached both milestones, a Red Sox record. He hit his 625th career double two days later against the Royals, passing Hank Aaron for tenth place all-time.
On October 2, during a pregame ceremony at Fenway Park for Ortiz prior to the final game of the season, the Red Sox announced that his uniform number 34 would be retired during the 2017 season. Additionally, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker was on hand to announce the bridge that carries Brookline Avenue over the Massachusetts Turnpike would be dedicated in honor of Ortiz.
Each time Ortiz crosses the plate after hitting a home run, he looks up and points both index fingers to the sky in tribute to his mother, Angela Rosa Arias, who died in a car crash in January 2002 at the age of 46. Ortiz also has a tattoo of his mother on his biceps.
Ortiz and his wife, Tiffany, have three children. Since marrying Tiffany, he has become a fan of the Green Bay Packers. (His wife hails from Kaukauna, Wisconsin, a town in between the cities of Green Bay andAppleton). In April 2013, Ortiz announced that he and his wife were separating, but they later reconciled.
Ortiz has received approximately $4.5 million in endorsements over the years. In April 2007, sporting-goods company Reebok debuted the Big Papi 10M Mid Baseball cleat, which Ortiz first used during the2007 MLB All Star Game in San Francisco, California.
In October 2009, Ortiz opened a night club called “Forty-Forty” in his native Dominican Republic. In April 2010, rapper and producer Jay-Z and his business partner Juan Perez initiated a trademark infringement case against Ortiz, alleging that the name of Ortiz’s night club was stolen from Jay-Z’s chain of sports clubs in New York. In March 2011, Ortiz reached a settlement deal with Jay-Z and Perez.
Prior to the Boston Red Sox home opener on April 11, 2016, Ortiz’s daughter, Alex Ortiz, performed the national anthem.
The David Ortiz Children’s Fund was founded in 2007 to support a range of causes that Ortiz believes in. The Fund allows Ortiz the flexibility to donate to those children who are in the most need at any given time, from Boston to the Dominican Republic and beyond. Ortiz released his own Charity Wine label in 2008 with all the proceeds going to the David Ortiz Children’s Fund. The wine called Vintage Papi proceeded to raise $150,000 for charity.
Alleged positive performance-enhancing-drug test in 2003
On July 30, 2009, The New York Times, citing anonymous sources, reported that Ortiz was among a group of over 100 major league players on a list compiled by federal investigators, that allegedly tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during Major League Baseball survey testing conducted in spring training of 2003. The survey testing was agreed to by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association to determine the extent of performance-enhancing drug use among players before permanent testing was officially implemented starting in 2004. As part of the agreement, the results of the survey testing were supposed to remain confidential and no suspensions or penalties would be issued to any player testing positive.
On August 8, 2009, Ortiz held a press conference before a game at Yankee Stadium and denied ever buying or using steroids and suggested the positive test might have been due to his use of supplements and vitamins at the time. When asked which supplements he had been taking, Ortiz said he did not know. Ortiz was accompanied at the press conference by Michael Weiner, the general counsel of theMajor League Baseball Players Association. Because the list of players was seized as part of a government investigation and is currently under court-ordered seal pending the outcome of litigation, Weiner said the players union was unable to provide Ortiz with any details about his test result, including what substance he tested positive for.
On the same day, both Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association issued statements pointing out that because of several factors, any player appearing on the list compiled by federal investigators in 2003 did not necessarily test positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Among those factors were that the total number of players said to be on the list far exceeded the number of collected specimens that tested positive. In addition, there were questions raised regarding the lab that performed the testing and their interpretation of the positive tests. Also, the statement pointed out that certain legal supplements that were available over the counter at the time could cause a positive test result.
On October 2, 2016 at a press conference at Fenway Park, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said it was “entirely possible” Ortiz did not test positive during the MLB survey drug testing in 2003. The commissioner stated that the alleged failed test should not harm Ortiz’ legacy, and that there were “legitimate scientific questions about whether or not those were truly positives.” He also said that it is unfair for Hall of Fame voters to consider “leaks, rumors, innuendo, not confirmed positive test results,” when assessing a player.
Championships, awards and honors
|American League champion||3||2004, 2007, 2013|
|World Series champion||3||2004, 2007, 2013|
|Act of honor bestowed||Dates||Ref|
|The Sporting News Designated Hitter of the Decade||2009|
|Sports Illustrated MLB All-Decade Team||2009|
|Name of award||Times||Dates||Ref|
|American League Player of the Month||3||September 2005, July 2006, May 2010|
|American League Player of the Week||6||June 27, 2004; September 18, 2005; August 6, 2006;|
August 26, 2007; June 5, 2011; September 15, 2011
|Babe Ruth Award||1||2013|
|Edgar Martínez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award||7||2003–07, 2011, 2013|
|GIBBY/This Year in Baseball Awards for Hitter of the Year||2||2004, 2005|
|Hank Aaron Award||1||2005|
|Home Run Derby winner||1||2010|
|League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award||1||2004|
|Major League Baseball All-Star||10||2004−08, 2010−13, 2016|
|Roberto Clemente Award||1||2011|
|Silver Slugger Award at designated hitter||6||2004–07, 2011, 2013|
|Thomas A. Yawkey Boston Red Sox Most Valuable Player Award||4||2004−06, 2013|
|World Series Most Valuable Player Award||1||2013|
- Red Sox single-season home-run leader (54; 2006)
- Tied with Babe Ruth for AL single-season home run record in road games (32; 2006)
- Tied with Billy Hatcher for all-time postseason consecutive on-base streak (10)
- Twice set single season record for home runs by a designated hitter: First in 2005 (43), then again in 2006 (47)
- First player ever to hit two walk-off home runs in the same postseason (against the Angels (ALDS) and Yankees (ALCS), 2004)
- First player in Red Sox history to hit 40 or more home runs in three consecutive seasons (2004–2006)
- Ten seasons of 30 or more home runs (2003–2007, 2010, 2013–2016; most in Red Sox history)
- Ten seasons of 100 or more RBIs (2003–2007, 2010, 2013–2016; most in Red Sox history)
- Ten seasons of 30 or more home runs and 100 or more RBIs (2003–2007, 2010, 2013–2016; most in Red Sox history)
- 27th player in MLB history with 500 or more home runs
- Fourth player in MLB history with 500 or more home runs and 3 World Series championships (Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson)
- Third player in MLB history with 500 or more home runs and 600 or more doubles (Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron)
- Third player with 85 extra base hits or more for four consecutive years (Lou Gehrig (5) and Sammy Sosa (4))
- Third player in Red Sox history with three seasons of 40 or more home runs (Carl Yastrzemski and Manny Ramirez)
- 17 career postseason home runs (tied for seventh all-time in MLB history)
- 60 career postseason RBI (fifth all-time in MLB history)
Annual statistical achievements
Notes: Through 2015 season. Per Baseball-Reference.com.
|Bases on balls leader||2||2006, 2007|
|Extra base hits leader||4||2004, 2005, 2007, 2016|
|Home run leader||1||2006|
|On-base percentage leader||1||2007|
|On-base plus slugging leader||1||2016|
|Runs batted in leader||3||2005, 2006, 2016|
|Slugging percentage leader||1||2016|
|Total bases leader||1||2006|
- Ortiz’s home run total increased each year from 2000 to 2006, starting with 10 home runs, and ending with 54
- Has hit 11 career walk-off HRs
- Five-time top five MVP vote-receiver (5th, 2003; 4th, 2004; 2nd, 2005; 3rd, 2006; 4th, 2007)