Red Sox: David Ortiz disses Ted Williams home run feat

Aug 23, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) hits a RBI single during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 23, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) hits a RBI single during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Red Sox David Ortiz may be a great hitter but not a great thinker. The latest nonsense is his dismissal of Ted Williams red seat.

The Boston Red Sox soon to be retired slugger David Ortiz is seeing red, as in red seat.

That iconic seat that marks where Ted Williams put a ball in 1946. Ortiz questions the strength of TSW and just about any basher that predates when Ortiz first grabbed a bat in a recent Boston Herald story by Bill Speros.

"“You see how strong ballplayers are today. And I’m not saying Mr. Ted Williams wasn’t. But you see how far guys are hitting balls today. And none of them can do it?” – David Ortiz"

The centerpiece of the argument from Papi’s view is simply one of strength vis a vis players of today. Ortiz is certainly correct regarding baseball, and all sports, as players are far better conditioned and the body size increase is noted in all sports. Does that mean that baseball prior to Ortiz was populated by limp-wristed girly men? More on that later.

"“I’ve hit balls in games that have disappeared and haven’t gone that far. (Ortiz’s longest measured home run came in 2006 at 488 feet). If you want to tell me one day that two plus two is five, I’m going to need proof to get there. … Josh Hamilton hit a ball at Fenway Park. Not even close. It went about 490 feet and 
he missed.” – David Ortiz"

A good part of the interview is Ortiz is questioning the veracity of the claim that Williams hit a ball 502 feet, with his own personal opinion that further questions the strength of the players of the Williams era. Can any measure up to the latest and greatest?

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Ortiz mentions Mo Vaughn, who actually did hit a ball further than Williams’ “alleged” 502 feet. Mo’s checked in with his tale of the tape at 505 feet. That is listed in this article along with several other titanic shots that have been accurately (supposedly) measured, including one famous coke bottle shot by Manny Ramirez that fell a foot short of Ted’s blast. The Baseball Almanac provides a historic list of home runs that certainly shine a very bright spotlight on the flawed reasoning of Ortiz regarding present day tape measured blasts and those of the past.  No MENSA membership for Ortiz.

"“Never assume malice is the explanation if stupidity will suffice” – Hanlon’s Razor"

I loved watching Mickey Mantle play and especially hit. I have seen Mantle hit some gargantuan shots at Fenway Park, where no light tower was safe from Mantle’s propensity to hit line drives that would continue to rise until either gravity or a stationary object interfered. There is even a website dedicated to “The Mick” on his distance prowess. Hyperbole? Maybe, but Mantle was incredibly strong.

"“I go with an aluminum bat and I’m not even close to it. When players come to Fenway, they say, ‘What is that Red Seat all about?’ I tell them, ‘They say Mr. Ted Williams hit a ball out there.’ And they’re like, ‘Yeah right.’ Players. Power hitters. Guys who hit bombs. They say there’s no way. You can barely see it from second base.” – David Ortiz"

Baseball has long had players of incredible size and strength and just maybe Ortiz has forgotten about Babe Ruth? If Ortiz spent as much time reviewing Red Sox history as he does making commercials about questionable coffee, he would know all about Jimmie Foxx. Double X was known as “The Beast” for a reason, Papi. As far as can be determined, Foxx took no “vitamins” to help his blasts.

Enough of the long home runs, as it is well established that baseball history is littered with those who were quite capable of powering a baseball 500+ feet in any era. What frosts me over is the skepticism of Ortiz regarding Williams.

Papi certainly wishes that “video” was available since he has seen “video” of other players such as Ty Cobb. A hint David: This was a long, long time ago and what you are reviewing is archival and rather grainy footage that are as rare as a Honus Wagner 1909 baseball card. David – when Williams hit that one out the Red Sox did not televise the game. They did their first TV game in 1948. And “video” was not used.

Ortiz frames his critique with all the right phrases about Williams being a great hitter, but the undercurrent is there regarding Williams’ famed home run. The polite, but certainly questioning that is present when Ortiz discusses the subject. What it really amounts to is a simple word: Jealousy.

Next: Red Sox: Aaron Boone talks Benintendi, Royals and Tebow

Ortiz will never be the hitter Williams was and that is an apparently a hard fact for Ortiz to absorb. Ortiz will undoubtedly be the greatest clutch hitter in Red Sox history, but will miss greatest hitter title and replace it with greatest non-thinker in Red Sox history since Carl Everett.