ST. LOUIS - The name of the game is winning. David Ortiz is a two-time world champion with the Boston Red Sox and will do no worse than to come within a single victory of a third title.
He has been a key contributor to each. What Ortiz is doing in this World Series is, let's not mince words here, bordering on the insane.
With a three-hit performance in four at-bats in the Red Sox 3-1, Game Five win over the Cardinals, Big Papi is now 11-for-15 in the series. He's hit two home runs, driven in six runs and walked four times. That's a .733 batting average. His 2013 World Series OPS is – gulp – 2.114.
It's time to acknowledge a simple fact. There are players who were Red Sox for longer, guys with better numbers, but Ortiz should be considered amongst the best to ever put on Boston's jersey.
“David's just, he's just, he's David Ortiz,” said catcher David Ross, who's RBI double in the seventh broke a 1-1 tie. “The guy is a postseason stud and a stud in general. Like I said in my interview the other day, that's why we call him ‘Cooperstown,' because he does Hall of Fame stuff.”
In 13 career World Series games, Ortiz has hit .465/.536/.791. The OPS is 1.327, worth posting because it's so impressive.
The .465 batting average is the highest for any World Series performer with at least 50 plate appearances. He has reached base in every World Series game in which he's played. Only Derek Jeter has more World Series extra-base hits among active players.
“He's having a great series,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “The one thing we won't do is get too far ahead of ourselves, whether that's what we achieve collectively or what any individual's performance suggests. But he's in a really good place, obviously.”
Ortiz is signed through next season. He will turn 38 on November 18. He's showing no signs of slowing down.
In 11 seasons with the Red Sox, Ortiz's slash line sits at .292/.390/.572. He's hit 373 home runs in a Boston uniform, 58 more if his early days with the Twins are factored in. For his career, Minnesota included, Ortiz has 2,023 career regular season hits.
The fact Ortiz is a designated hitter shouldn't be held against him. The position was established in the American League in 1973 and is therefore legitimate. He has shown, when interleague or World Series play has required it, an ability to play a competent first base.
Ultimately, Ortiz will be remembered for the moments he's authored in October. More so, he should be thought of for the number of rings on his fingers and for his contributions to those championships.
Right now, Papi's got two rings. One more win in this series and he'll have a third.
The legacy is being cemented.