This day in Red Sox history: Boston signs the legendary David Ortiz

David Ortiz started his legendary stint with the Red Sox over two decades ago.
Boston Marathon Finish Line Dedication
Boston Marathon Finish Line Dedication / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages
3 of 3

Iconic David Ortiz Moments with Red Sox

There were so many great moments featuring Big Papi, including his first Red Sox home run, which was a pinch-hit homer in extra innings to put Boston up on the Angels. His walk-off homer to complete a sweep of the Angels during the 2004 ALDS, during which he sent Jarrod Washburn's first pitch sailing over the Green Monster in extras, should've been a harbinger of things to (quickly) come.

The 2004 ALCS alone features some of his most clutch hits. Ortiz hit a walk-off homer in the 12th inning to give the Red Sox a fighting chance, as they were down 3-0 in the series. This began a chain reaction that propelled Boston to do the impossible.

On the next day, Ortiz hit another home run in the eighth inning to start a rally that allowed the Sox to tie the game at four apiece. Ortiz then battled in a 10-pitch at bat and eventually lined a bloop single into center field, scoring Johnny Damon and sending the series back to New York.

Boston won Game 6 behind a gutsy performance on the mound by Schilling. It came down to a winner-take-all Game 7 to determine the ALCS. Ortiz launched a two-run homer in the first inning, setting the pace for the remainder of the game. Damon hit a grand slam in the second inning and Boston did the impossible, becoming the first team to overcome a 3-0 series deficit.

The Red Sox took down the Cardinals in a four-game sweep to win their first World Series title since 1918. Had Boston not taken the chance on Ortiz in 2003, who knows how long it may have taken to break the curse?

There is one more moment that is synonymous with the name David Ortiz, and that is his speech at Fenway days after the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, declaring, "This is our f------ city and nobody is going to dictate our freedom." In that moment, he cemented that he was devoted to and loved the city of Boston. It was such a powerful moment.

Ortiz made it known in 2006 that he wanted to finish his career in Boston, and he would do exactly that. Big Papi helped the team win a World Series again in both 2007 and 2013. He was known as one of the most inspirational players in that clubhouse and knew how to motivate his teammates to greatness.

There are so many iconic moments when thinking back on the career of David Ortiz, and there could be an entire piece covering the slew of memories he provided. Signing Ortiz was the best decision the Red Sox could have made back in 2003.

He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 24, 2022, alongside Bud Fowler, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Miñoso, Tony Oliva, and Buck O’Neil.

Thanks for the memories Big Papi!