David Ortiz reflects on ‘huge honor’ of joining Ted Williams in slugging history
|09.28.13 at 12:07 am ET|
BALTIMORE — Thirty and a hundred.
They are landmark numbers in defining the season-long performance of a slugger. Yes, the focus on 30 homers and 100 RBI obscures other very important indicators of a player’s offensive contributions, but nonetheless, those two statistics alone offer a powerful message about a player’s impact in the middle of a lineup.
And so it was that on Friday, David Ortiz further underscored his indelible place in Red Sox franchise history in the top of the eighth inning when he greeted Boston College alum Mike Belfiore — in his big league debut — by sending a decent pitch (an 89 mph fastball down and on the outside corner) screaming just over the fence in left-center.
“Welcome to the big leagues,” joked Ortiz. “I heard he’s from Boston. Damn. My boy. He already knows.”
Indeed, it would be virtually impossible to have spent part of the last 11 baseball years in Boston without being aware of the place of Ortiz. But it is not merely those who follow the game right now who must make sense of his performance. Ortiz’s place in Red Sox annals will be discussed for decades to come, after he further cemented his place in the conversation about the greatest sluggers in franchise history by blasting his 30th home run of the 2013 season.
It marked the first time that Ortiz had reached that plateau since 2010, but the seventh time he’s done it with the Sox, second only to Williams (who did it eight times) in franchise history. Moreover, with 103 RBI this year, Ortiz has his seventh season of 30/100 in Boston — tied with Williams for the most such years ever by a Red Sox.
“It’s a huge honor for myself to be mentioned with one of the greatest that ever played the game in this organization,” said Ortiz.
The homer was the 431st of Ortiz’s career, tying him with Cal Ripken Jr. for 45th on the all-time list.
“Another great,” Ortiz said in the ballpark where Ripken spent the last 10 seasons of his career. “You’re talking about Cal Ripken Jr., the Iron Man, that’s something special. You keep on mentioning names, and nothing but greater comes out. Mad respect.”
The respect flowed back to Ortiz as well from various corners of the Red Sox clubhouse based on his accomplishments over the course of a significant stretch of time.
“In the minds of many, he’s a Hall of Fame type hitter,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “He’s been a productive hitter throughout his whole career here and I think to put himself in the company of ted Williams is very rare.”
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