Baseball great, Dave Ortiz, was born November 18, 1975 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Ortiz is a designated hitter who has played for the Boston Red Sox since 2003. Previously, Ortiz played for the Minnesota Twins (1997-2002). Nicknamed "Big Papi", Ortiz is a five-time All-Star and holds the Red Sox single-season record for home runs with 54, set during the 2006 season.
David Ortiz shares a word with Toby Hall, then of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.Ortiz graduated from Estudia Espaillat High School in the Dominican Republic and in 1993 he was signed by the Seattle Mariners who listed him as "David Arias" (possibly not understanding Spanish naming customs). In 1996, the Mariners received Dave Hollins from the Minnesota Twins for a player to be named later. Later that season, the Mariners announced that the player to be named later would be Arias. When he arrived in Minnesota, he informed the team that he preferred to be listed as "David Ortiz." He made his debut in September 1997. After moving up and down from the majors to the minors, Ortiz hit .272 with 20 home runs and 75 RBIs in 2002, when the Twins lost in the American League Championship Series to the Anaheim Angels.
The Twins released Ortiz nine days before Christmas in 2002. The Red Sox signed the free agent the following month. Originally, Jeremy Giambi was assigned the primary role as DH/First Baseman, but his poor performance allowed Ortiz to step in. Additionally, the subsequent trade of Shea Hillenbrand to the Arizona Diamondbacks allowed Bill Mueller to play full time at third base, creating more playing time. Ortiz became the full time designated hitter and hit fifth in the batting order, collecting 21 home runs after the All-Star Game. He finished the season hitting .288 with 31 home runs and 101 RBI in only 128 games. Ortiz finished fifth in the American League MVP vote.
In 2004, Ortiz played a major role in leading the Red Sox to their first World Series championship in 86 years. This was Ortiz's second year with the Red Sox and his first year as their full-time designated hitter. During the season, Ortiz was voted onto the All-Star team for the first time in his career, as he batted .301 with 41 home runs and 139 RBI. Ortiz was also suspended for 5 games (later reduced to 3 games due to an appeal) after being ejected following an incident on July 16 in a game against the Angels in which he threw several bats onto the field that came close to hitting umpires Bill Hohn and Mark Carlson. In the playoffs, Ortiz hit .400 with 5 home runs and 19 RBI. He had multiple game-winning hits to help Boston advance to and ultimately win the World Series. He hit a walk-off home run to win the American League Division Series against the Angels. He then hit a walk-off home run against the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the ALCS and a walk-off single in Game 5 during the American League Championship Series. His post-season heroics earned him MVP honors for the ALCS. Additionally, he finished fourth in AL MVP voting.
In 2005 Dave Ortiz set a new career high of 47 home runs, 43 of them as a designated hitter, beating Edgar Martínez's record of 37 set in 2000. Twenty of his home runs either tied or gave Boston the lead, and over the period 2003-2005, he hit .326, with 22 home runs and 73 RBIs in only 221 at bats in the late innings of close games. He also led the American League in RBI with 148, and his 47 homers were second in the AL to the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez. He also finished second to Rodriguez in MVP votes.
The 2005 American League|AL MVP was a significant debate among baseball circles as both Alex Rodriguez and Dave Ortiz finished the regular season with impressive offensive statistics. He finished with new career highs in runs (119), RBIs (148), walks (102), on-base percentage (.397), and slugging percentage (.604). Two sportswriters left Ortiz completely off the ten player ballot, citing Ortiz's position as a designated hitter.
In 2006 Dave Ortiz belted 54 home runs (setting a new Red Sox record) and had 137 RBI, while batting .287 with an OPS of 1.049. He led the American League in both HR and RBI, winning the HR crown by 11 over the 2nd place finisher Travis Hafner.
2006 was a year of Walk-off home runs (the act of winning a game in the bottom half of the last inning) for Ortiz. He excelled in Late Inning Pressure Situations (LIPS), hitting more walk-off base hits (5, including 3 home runs) that year than most teams.
On August 27, 2006, Ortiz tied his career high in home runs by hitting his 47th home run of the year off Cha Seung Baek of the Seattle Mariners. On September 20, 2006, Ortiz tied Jimmie Foxx's single season Red Sox home run record of 50 set in 1938; in the 6th inning against Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Boof Bonser, Big Papi launched the ball into the center field bleachers behind the Red Sox bullpen. Ortiz has the unique achievement of having increased his season home run tally in each of seven consecutive seasons (starting from 1999, year-by-year he has hit 0, 10, 18, 20, 31, 41, 47 and 54 HRs).
On September 21, 2006, Ortiz broke Jimmie Foxx's single season Red Sox home run record by hitting his 51st home run off his former teammate, Johan Santana of the Minnesota Twins. The home run came on a 1-0 pitch in the first inning and it was his 44th home run as a designated hitter in 2006, breaking his own American League single-season record. Ortiz then hit his 52nd home run off reliever Matt Guerrier on a full count in the seventh inning. He finished the season with a franchise record 54 home runs.
Ortiz also said he began feeling ill between games of a day-night doubleheader on August 18, 2006, against New York that dragged into the early morning. Between games, he had gone home and tried to sleep but couldn't. Ortiz was reportedly driven to the hospital by a team assistant. An irregular heartbeat was the cause for the stress according to his doctors. Ortiz would not originally talk about his condition, but opened up to the media on August 25, 2006, reportedly saying "I'm a healthy son of god ".
On August 28, 2006, Ortiz had recurring symptoms from his irregular heartbeat and was a last minute scratch in the Red Sox game at Oakland. Manager Terry Francona and General Manager Theo Epstein agreed that Ortiz fly back to Boston where he was reevaluated and cleared to play again in early September.
In 2007, Ortiz once again was a major force as he helped lead the Red Sox to their seventh World Series title . Despite playing the entire season with a torn meniscus in his right knee as well as nagging injuries to his shoulder and quadriceps, he finished the year hitting .332 with 35 home runs and 117 RBI. In addition, he hit 52 doubles, led the American League in extra base hits and had an OPS of 1.066. In the postseason Ortiz batted .370 with 3 home runs and 10 RBI.
Each time Dave Ortiz crosses the plate after hitting a home run, he looks up and points both index fingers to the sky in tribute to his mother Angela Rosa Arias, who died in a car crash in January 2002 at the age of 46. Ortiz also sports a tattoo of his mother on his biceps.
Dave Ortiz and his wife Tiffany have three children, Jessica, Alexandra and D'Angelo. D'Angelo is named after David's mother. Ortiz has become a Green Bay Packers fan since marrying Tiffany Ortiz (née Brick), who is a native of Kaukauna, Wisconsin, and he's been spotted on the sidelines at Packers games. The family recently put their home in Newton, Massachusetts up for sale. The family now resides in Weston, Massachusetts, another suburb of Boston.
On June 11, 2008, Ortiz became a legal United States citizen at John F. Kennedy Library in Boston.
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