David Ortiz is one of the first names that comes to mind for most baseball fans when the Boston Red Sox are mentioned. "Big Papi," as he is often referred to by others, had a massive impact on the franchise for a little over a decade.
Ortiz began his professional career with the Minnesota Twins in 1997 and spent six years in Minneapolis before landing with Boston on a one-year, $1.25 million deal in 2003.
Big Papi had a fairly decent tenure with Minnesota, as he compiled a .266 average with 58 homers, 238 RBI, and an .809 OPS. However, somewhat surprisingly, he was released by the Twins, allowing the Red Sox to swoop in and snag a future Hall of Famer. Minnesota just ... didn't get it.
Red Sox sign David Ortiz for 2003 season
At the conclusion of the 2002 season, Boston added a new General Manager to their organization. That ended up being Theo Epstein, who was 28 years old at the time.
Boston had originally come to terms with Billy Beane to become the new GM on Nov. 10, 2002 on a five-year deal. Beane would decline the offer the next day in favor of staying in Oakland so he could spend more time with his daughter. This is what led to the Red Sox hiring the youngest general manager in MLB history on Nov. 25, 2002.
Before Epstein took over the reins, Boston had made a couple of moves during the offseason. On Oct. 9, Brandon Lyon was selected off waivers by the Sox. Nov. 6 saw the signing of free agent catcher Chris Coste.
One of the first moves made by Epstein as GM was the release of Wayne Gomes. He then acquired second baseman Todd Walker from the Reds and, a few days later, Jeremy Giambi from the Phillies. Ramiro Mendoza was then signed, followed by Bill Mueller.
The next move he made would further change the course of Boston Red Sox history, as David Ortiz was signed to a one-year deal. Epstein likely had no idea how important Ortiz would become for the franchise. A month later, Boston acquired Kevin Millar by blocking a deal the Marlins had made with the Chunichi Dragons of the Japanese Central League.
However, Ortiz was the biggest part of this offseason, as he ended up leaving behind an incredible legacy in Beantown. Just look at those names, though. What a one-year turnaround