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Big Papi Goes to Cooperstown

David Ortiz has proven to be larger than life both on and off the field. Upon his Hall of Fame enshrinement, a look back on his unforgettable MLB career.

Few players define a team and an era quite like David Ortiz defined the 2000s Boston Red Sox.

There have been better hitters in that time: Guys who put up better or more balanced numbers, went to more All-Star Games, out-performed him in your metric of choice, etc. But there was no one across the MLB who blended his consistency, clutch, and charisma to emerge as an all-time great and become an icon in a city known for chewing up and spitting out even the best of athletes.

He’s the most feared postseason hitter of all time — take it from a Yankees fan — and on Tuesday, he earned his rightful spot in Cooperstown as a first-ballot Baseball Hall of Famer.

Big Papi’s Hall of Fame Resume

Ortiz started his career in Minnesota, sharing time between DH and first base. When he had his chances, he was fine, but a couple of wrist injuries kept him from gaining steam. The Twins let him walk after the 2002 season and the Red Sox took a flier on him, hoping his career-best 20 home runs that season was merely a hint at what was to come.

Of course it was.

What followed was three World Series championships for a franchise mired in an 85-year drought at the time of his signing. For the Red Sox, Ortiz had three 40-plus home run seasons and finished his career second on the franchise’s all-time list. Most importantly, at least to Red Sox fans, he became a thorn in the Yankees’ side, beating them with two walk-off hits in the 2004 ALCS and hitting .310 for his career off legendary closer Mariano Rivera.

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Statistical Highlights
  • Home Runs: 541
  • RBI: 1,768
  • OPS: .931
  • OPS+: 141
  • fWAR: 51.0
Awards & Accolades
  • 10 MLB All-Star teams
  • 7 Silver Sluggers
  • 3 World Series championships
  • 2004 ALCS MVP
  • 2013 World Series MVP
  • No. 34 retired by Boston Red Sox

Earnings and Endorsements

Career Earnings

Minnesota Twins: $1,235,000 (two seasons)
Boston Red Sox: $158,962,500 (14 seasons)
Total: $160,197,500

Key Endorsements

Big Papi has had plenty of endorsement opportunities over the years, with some of the biggest brands including MasterCard, JetBlue, Coca-Cola, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin Donuts, FTX, and New Balance.

In his playing days, he had deals with Vitaminwater, Wise, Comcast, and New Era, and also appeared as a cover athlete on editions of the MLB The Show and Backyard Baseball video games. On the field, he sported the Swoosh early in his career before signing with Reebok and eventually New Balance.

Business Ventures
  • Big Papi’s Kitchen: Remember that Comcast commercial where Ortiz talked about his famous mango salsa recipe? Big Papi’s Kitchen was once home to that, his own hummus, tortilla chips, and more.
  • Arias Wines: Founded in 2017 and named after his late mother, Ortiz’s wine offerings are affordable, diverse, and available on Drizzly.
  • Forty-Forty Nightclub: Big Papi opened his own nightclub in the Dominican Republic in 2009, and if the name rings a bell… well, it did for Jay-Z, too. He sued Ortiz for trademark infringement and the two parties settled in 2011.
Current Work
  • FOX Sports analyst: Big Papi jumped onboard FOX’s baseball coverage during the 2014 World Series and hasn’t looked back, contributing to broadcasts during the regular season, All-Star Game and postseason.
  • David Ortiz Children’s Fund: Papi’s charity aims to help children in the Dominican and in New England who are suffering from cardiac issues. It hosts events like celebrity golf tournaments and has teams in the Boston and New York City Marathons to raise money.
  • Call Him Papi” podcast: Ortiz and Barstool Sports’ Jared Carrabis host an interview-style podcast where they speak with people from around sports and entertainment. A-Rod, Gronk, and Michael Strahan have all made appearances.

Boston’s Own

Damian Strohmeyer /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

You can’t talk about David Ortiz without talking about what he means to the city of Boston. His heroics in 2004 are what originally won the collective heart of Red Sox Nation, but everything he did after made him an icon. There’s the obvious, like how he hit 101 home runs over those next two seasons then won another ring the next year. There’s the comical, like the story about how he didn’t know Dustin Pedroia’s actual first name despite being teammates with him for years.

Then, there’s the heartfelt stuff.

Despite every big hit Big Papi had in his career, he may be best remembered for the speech he gave to the Fenway Park crowd in the Red Sox’ first home game after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, when he told them “this is our fucking city.”

(Not going to lie, it even gives this Yankees fan a couple of goosebumps.)

If you’re wondering how the city responded to that, Ortiz finished third that year in the Boston mayoral race despite not running.

Yeah, the guy’s larger than life. And now he’s in Cooperstown.

Where he belongs.

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