The Boston Red Sox have had several players take part in the Home Run Derby over the years, the best of which may have been Big Papi back in 2010.
We all know that the Red Sox have never shied away from the longball. During the early 2000s, they had what may go down as one of the most dangerous dynamic duos in Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. If a pitcher tried to avoid one, the other would make them pay in the end. When all is said and done, Big Papi will go down as one of the most clutch home run hitters in history, and he carried that to the Home Run Derby in 2010.
Ortiz participated in five Derbys during his career, most of which didn’t end well, though he has 77 dingers all-time in the event. Until 2010, his best showing would be during the 2005 duel where Papi launched 20 missiles into the Detroit sky. When the All-Star game made its way to Anaheim for the mid-summer classic, Ortiz went into a different gear.
Papi would out duel a man Red Sox Nation knows very well in Hanley Ramirez, 32-26. Each man had impressive outings but it was the veteran DH that had the better gameplan for the fight. Ramirez made it to the finals on the back of a good first round (9) and an incredible second round (12) but fizzled in the finals (5). Ortiz, on the other hand, got better as the night went on with a solid first round (8), an absolute killer second round (13), and an equally impressive final (11).
Ramirez just wasn’t a match for the legendary Red Sox slugger on this July night. This was a stacked Derby as well with names like Miguel Cabrera, Matt Holliday, Nick Swisher, and Vernon Wells also in the hunt. When all was said and done though, it was Papi that had the trophy raise high over his head.
Many hitters will stay far away from the Home Run Derby as it has a high chance of throwing off not only the timing but also the motion of a slugger. It’s one thing to hit a ton of bombs in regular at-bats during the season with your usual motion, it’s a whole new ballgame when your only focus is crushing the ball.
Ortiz wouldn’t see any negative effects from participating though as he continued to rake for the Red Sox in 2010, finishing with 32 homers, his highest total in years. Papi had that mystique about him, he wasn’t immune to cold spells, but they were few and far in between and would never last long. There was something magic about seeing Ortiz step into the batter’s box. Whether it was in spring training or a chilly October night, you never wanted to take your eyes off of Papi when he was stepping to the plate.
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Having a murderer’s row of hitters in the derby that year made his win that much more impressive. Yeah, Hanley was close in the end as far as totals homers are concerned, but Ortiz kept a level of consistency throughout the night that nobody else could match. Adding just another accolade to his long resume of accomplishment while in a Red Sox uniform.
Boston’s big man had all eyes on him in Anaheim on that night and he didn’t disappoint anyone that tuned in. It was great to see the power lefty finally break out of his Home Run Derby slump and live up to the expectations. The only way it could’ve been a better win is if it took place at Fenway Park. Sadly by the time the All-Star game makes its way back to Boston, it’ll be too late to see Papi shine.
Big Papi has seen and done it all as a member of the Boston Red Sox. From breaking the Curse in 2004 to uniting an entire city in 2013, he’s been the heart and soul of the franchise. David Ortiz will always be remembered fondly by those that followed his career not only in Boston but also with Minnesota. His jovial spirit and energy, as well as his leadership, is something that every ball club should want in their dugout.