Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day 102: Big Papi Reaches DH Milestone

David Ortiz loves Boston and Boston loves Big Papi. This is evident by his most recent contract with the Red Sox. At age 37, after his 2012 season was cut short by an achilles injury, the Sox acknowledged his years of hard work and commitment to this team with a two-year, $26 million contract that will keep him in Boston through 2014.

Some thought it was ridiculous—especially in an age where teams don't put much thought, importance or money into the DH position. In the 2008-2010 seasons, he experienced some of his lowest batting averages in a Red Sox uniform, but the team never gave up on him. They continued to see him as a valued member of the organization and rewarded him as such.

No one quite knew what this year would bring and if that hefty contract would come back to haunt the front office. Big Papi missed the first couple weeks of the season still trying to get that achilles back to fighting form and when he finally returned to the lineup less than a week after the Boston Marathon tragedy, he returned with a vengeance. For the remainder of the month of April, he broke out with 18 hits in nine games and a .500 average. Obviously it's impossible to continue that torrid pace, but his batting average has not dipped below .300 in the 73 games he's played this season.

Yesterday, David Ortiz reached yet another pinnacle in his long career—he became baseball's all-time leader in hits as a designated hitter, surpassing Harold Baines. He entered last night's game tied with Baines at 1,688 hits and with his two hits against the Mariners, took over the #1 spot with 1,690.

After his first hit of the night, a double to left-center to lead off the second, his accomplishment was posted on the video board and he was greeted with a standing ovation from the Mariners' fans. I wouldn't expect anything else from classy Seattle. He tipped his helmet to the fans, touched by the recognition. Ortiz also holds the top spot by a designated hitter for most runs scored, doubles, home runs, extra-base hits and RBIs.

This is your city, Big Papi, and it's going to be a sad day for Boston fans when your smiling face, big personality and intimidating bat are no longer part of the Red Sox lineup. But while you are still here... keep up the good work! Congratulations!

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