David Ortiz's debut season in Boston
Ortiz's debut season was one to remember, as he put up career-best numbers across 128 games played. He slugged 31 home runs, drove in 101 runs, and posted a .961 OPS, and 145 wRC+. His success helped lead the Red Sox to a 95-67 finish.
Humorously enough, Boston ended up facing Billy Beane's Oakland Athletics in the ALDS. Boston rallied back from a 0-2 series deficit and advanced to the ALCS to face their arch-enemy, the New York Yankees.
It took seven games to decide the winner of the ALCS and, unfortunately, the Red Sox weren't able to get it done, as Aaron Boone took Tim Wakefield deep in extra innings to send the Yankees to an eventual World Series title. This sure didn't help the case for breaking the Curse of the Bambino.
The curse is finally lifted
What Red Sox fans didn't know, is that curse was on the cusp of being destroyed. Boston fired manager Grady Little after being bounced from the ALCS. They would then hire Terry Francona to serve as manager in 2004. One of the biggest offseason moves was Boston making a trade with the Diamondbacks for Curt Schilling.
Ortiz signed on another one-year deal, this time worth $4.5 million, as he became a huge power threat alongside Manny Ramirez. This would be Ortiz's first All-Star season, as his star power emerged.
He earned his first Silver Slugger award with 175 hits, including 41 homers and 139 RBI. Ortiz was paramount in helping Boston reach and win the 2004 World Series. Ortiz would earn MVP honors in the ALCS, as he was 12-for-35 with three homers and 11 RBI.
Ortiz ended up spending 14 years with the Red Sox, during which he created a Hall of Fame resume that includes 10 All-Star selections, seven Silver Slugger awards, and three World Series titles. He retired as one of the best designated hitters in all of baseball.