fb-pixel34 things to know about David Ortiz - The Boston Globe Skip to main content

34 things to know about David Ortiz

David Ortiz’s 14-year career with the Red Sox was littered with milestones and memorable moments.barry Chin/globe staff file

David Ortiz’s No. 34 will be retired by the Red Sox Friday. Here are 34 items about Big Papi and his memorable career:

1. Ortiz hit 541 home runs in his career, 17th all-time. That’s more than Mickey Mantle (536) and Ted Williams (521).

2. “This jersey that we wear today, it doesn’t say Red Sox. It says Boston. We want to thank you, Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick, and the whole police department for the great job they did this past week. This is our [expletive] city and nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong. Thank you.”

3. In Red Sox history, Ortiz is fifth in games played (1,953) and runs (1,204), sixth in hits (2,079), second in home runs (483), third in doubles (524), and third in RBIs (1,530).


4. Ortiz led the Red Sox to World Series victories in 2004, 2007, and 2013. He was 20 of 44 (.455) with 6 doubles, 3 home runs, 14 RBIs, 14 runs, and 14 walks in 14 Series games.

5. In the curse-breaking 2004 postseason, Ortiz hit .400 with a 1.278 OPS over 14 games and drove in 19 runs. He is essentially why there is such a thing as Red Sox Nation.

6. Ortiz hit a walkoff two-run homer off Paul Quantrill in the 12th inning to win Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Yankees. He won Game 5 the next night with a walkoff single in the 14th inning off Estaban Loaiza.

7. In 85 career postseason games, Ortiz hit .289 with a .947 OPS. He had 41 extra-base hits and 61 RBIs. His teams won 12 of the 18 series they were in.

8. Ortiz is 10th in career postseason hits (88), fourth in doubles (22), tied for seventh in home runs (17), and tied for fourth in RBIs (61)


9. In 2016, his final season, Ortiz had 38 home runs and 127 RBIs. Both were records for a player in his final season. Shoeless Joe Jackson had 121 RBIs in 1920. Dave Kingman had 35 home runs in 1986.

10. Major League Baseball selected Ortiz for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award in 2011. The award recognizes players who best represent baseball on and off the field. The David Ortiz Children’s Fund has raised millions to provide pediatric medical care in the Dominican Republic and New England.

11. Ortiz did not waste much time getting to 500 home runs. He hit No. 498 on Sept. 9, 2015. Nos. 499 and 500 came on Sept. 12 at Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field. Ortiz connected off Matt Moore in the first inning and again in the fifth.

No. 500. chris o’meara/AP file

12. Ortiz owns virtually every career record for a designated hitter. He has the most hits (2,191), doubles (557), home runs (485), RBIs (1,569), walks (1,168), runs (1,254), at-bats (7,581), and games (2,027) at the position.

13. The award for most outstanding DH was inaugurated in 1973 and named for Edgar Martinez in 2004. Martinez won the award five times. Ortiz won it eight times. Maybe they should change the name again.

14. Ortiz is the only Red Sox player since 1918 to win three World Series championships.

jim davis/globe staff

15. Believe it or not, he had 19 triples and 17 stolen bases in his career.

16. Ortiz had at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs 10 times with the Red Sox. The only other players to do that for one franchise are Babe Ruth (12 times for the Yankees), Hank Aaron (10 times for the Braves), Lou Gehrig (10 times for the Yankees), and Albert Pujols (10 times for the Cardinals).


17. The Seattle Mariners signed Ortiz out of the Dominican Republic on Nov. 28, 1992. He played three seasons in Seattle’s minor league system before being traded to the Minnesota Twins as the player to be named later for Dave Hollins.

18. Ortiz played parts of six seasons with the Twins, hitting .266 with 58 home runs. He was released after the 2002 season despite hitting 20 home ruins and driving in 75 runs.

19. The Red Sox signed Ortiz on Jan. 22, 2003, for $1.25 million, intending to use him as a platoon first baseman with Jeremy Giambi.

20. From 2003-06, the Sox paid Ortiz $17.5 million. He hit .294 with a 1.001 OPS, 173 home runs, and 525 RBIs. Ortiz generated 18.6 WAR during that period, making him one of the biggest bargains in baseball history.

21. Ortiz was selected to the All-Star team 10 times, all with the Red Sox. Only Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski, with 18 each, have more in franchise history. Ortiz celebrated by getting a red star with a 10 in the middle tattooed on the back of his left hand.

22. In 2016, Ortiz set major league records for home runs (38), RBIs (127), doubles (48), and extra-base hits (87) by a player age 40 or order.


23. Roy Halladay was the pitcher who faced Ortiz the most, 109 times. Ortiz hit .273 against him with 6 home runs. A total of 322 pitchers faced him once.

24. You don’t associate Ortiz with doubles. But his 632 two-baggers are 10th all-time. Only four players in history have 500 homers and 600 doubles. The others are Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, and Albert Pujols.

25. Babe Ruth played with Danny MacFayden on the 1934 Yankees. MacFayden played with Early Wynn on the 1941 Washington Senators. Wynn played with Tommy John on the 1963 Cleveland Indians. John played with Mike Morgan on the 1982 New York Yankees. Morgan played with a rookie named David Ortiz on the 1998 Minnesota Twins.

High-fiving with Mookie Betts.barry chin/globe staff

26. Ortiz hit .310 with 222 home runs in 1,014 games at Fenway Park. As a lefthanded hitter with power, he doesn’t believe that Ted Williams reached the famed red seat in the right-field bleachers.

27. Ortiz holds the Red Sox season home run record with 54 in 2006. That broke the record of 50 set by Jimmie Foxx in 1938.

28. He sure was clutch. Ortiz had 11 career walkoff home runs, two in the postseason.

29. From the 2002 season until he retired, Ortiz looked up as he crossed the plate after every home run and raised his index fingers to the sky. It was a tribute to his mother, Angela Rosa Arias. She died in a car accident in January of 2002.


barry chin/globe staff

30. Only Ortiz, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Reggie Jackson have at least 500 home runs and three World Series championships.

31. Ortiz faced five Hall of Fame pitchers in his career: Tom Glavine, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz. He homered off Maddux, Martinez, and Smoltz.

32. Ortiz’s first career hit came off Marc Pisciotta of the Cubs on Sept. 3, 1997. It was a pinch-hit single. His last career hit was Sept. 30, 2016, off Toronto’s Brett Cecil. It was a home run.

33. Ortiz will join Bobby Doerr (1), Joe Cronin (4), Johnny Pesky (6), Carl Yastrzemski (8), Ted Williams (9), Jim Rice (14), Wade Boggs (26), Carlton Fisk (27), and Pedro Martinez (45) as Red Sox players with their numbers retired.

34. Ortiz is eligible for the Hall of Fame class of 2022. He will be on the ballot that is sent to eligible voters late in 2021.

Pedro and Big Papi.Reuters file

Thanks to baseball-reference.com for research assistance.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.