Boston Red Sox: Most important players in franchise history
By Drew Athans
David Ortiz obviously needs no introduction. From 2003 to 2016, he was the only constant on the Red Sox and became one of the most legendary figures in the team’s long and storied history. He won three World Series with the Red Sox and was a major, major contributor in every one. He put up excellent numbers with the bat and retired as not only one of the greatest hitters in Red Sox history (and their career home run leader), but probably the greatest DH of all time.
Beyond his accomplishments, Ortiz was not just the face of the Red Sox for those fourteen seasons in Boston, he was the team’s heart and soul. His clutch hitting in 2004 assured his immortality in Red Sox lore, but he was also their spiritual leader. Earlier in his Red Sox tenure, he was a swaggering, smiling behemoth who always seemed to get the big hit when the Red Sox needed it.
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As he got older, he became the wise elder statesman who took young budding stars like Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts under his wing and helped them flourish. He was the comforting and defiant voice in the face of unspeakable tragedy in 2013 when he rallied Red Sox Nation and all of New England in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings and to the very end of his career, he was the most beloved Red Sox player in history.
Perhaps nothing encapsulated what David Ortiz means to Red Sox fan as the response to his shooting in 2019. Red Sox fans around the country and the world were shocked and saddened and the outpouring of concern, love, and support for Ortiz showed that the connection he had with the fanbase and the region was greater than that of any other player past or present.
Throw in the three World Series victories he helped lead in 2004, 2007 and 2013 and a strong case can be made that Ortiz is the most important Red Sox player ever. There’s no debating that he’s the most beloved, that’s for sure.