Lucky 7 for Papi — and re-living the six that came first
How many more times can the man do it? Simply amazing that David Ortiz has hit seven walkoff home runs (including two in the postseason) since arriving in Boston in 2003.
I bet there are players who have had 15-year careers without ever ending a game with a home run and this guy has done it seven times in less than four years! That’s insane.
Here are the seven, for those of you who might not remember one or two.
*Walkoff 1: Sept. 23, 2003. Ortiz smokes a 2-1 offering from Kurt Ainsworth over the Monster in the bottom of the 10th for a solo shot to beat the Orioles and put the Sox on the precipice of winning the AL Wild Card, which they would clinch 48 hours later. If you remember, the only reason the Ortiz was in position for that walkoff was because Todd Walker drilled a two-out, three-run homer against Jorge Julio in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game. That was a magical Fenway night.
*Walkoff 2: April 11, 2004: Ortiz blasts a 2-2 pitch from Aquilino Lopez over the Monster for a 2-run shot in the 12th inning, sending an Easter Sunday crowd home happy after a wild win against the Blue Jays. Remember, this was Curt Schilling’s first Fenway start in a Sox uni, but No. 38 became a footnote by the end of the day, thanks to Ortiz’s latest flick of magic.
*Walkoff 3: October 8, 2004: Who doesn’t remember this one? Ortiz wallops the first pitch he sees from Jarrod Washburn in the bottom of the 10th for yet another Monster walkoff, clinching a Division Series sweep over the Angels. This is Ortiz’s only walkoff to date that has set off a champagne-filled celebration in the clubhouse. Remember, the Red Sox had this game in control. Bronson Arroyo had spun a beauty but Mike Timlin served up a game-tying grand slam to Vladdie Guerrero to temporarily silence Fenway. But it didn’t stay silent for long, thanks to Papi. Remember Derek Lowe pitching a scoreless 10th to get the win?
*Walkoff 4: October 17, 2004: Just nine days later, Ortiz hits what has to be considered the biggest of all his walkoffs. This one gets the Sox up off the mat in the ALCS against the Yankees after falling behind 3-0 in series. Most people remember the Dave Roberts steal and the Bill Mueller game-tying hit. But without Ortiz’s grand finale — a laser into the visitor’s bullpen in the 12th inning off Paul Quantrill — you might still be hearing about 1918 every time you go to Yankee Stadium. All he does the next day is get another walkoff hit — this one a single in the 14th inning — to set up the historic end of the ALCS in New York.
*Walkoff 5: June 2, 2005: This one was probably Ortiz’s most suprising walkoff when you consider who it came against. B.J. Ryan, big, tall and dominant from the left side, held a 4-3 lead for the Orioles with two outs in the ninth when Edgar Renteria dropped a surprise bunt down the third base line. Melvin Mora was practically playing on the left field grass and had no play. Ortiz stepped up next and rocked one to dead center field, giving Boston a 5-4 win and setting off a frenzied end to a weekday matinee at Fenway.
*Walkoff 6: September 6, 2005: Every Ortiz walkoff has had something unique about it, and this one was by far the most majestic. As a matter of fact, I don’t think this ball has landed yet. Ortiz absolutely obliterated this Scot Shields offering to the moon, or actually, just way back in the RF grandstands. This was an absolute rocket. Probably Ortiz’s longest shot in his career. And it also came in the heat of the pennant race and gave Tim Wakefield (complete game gem) a highly satisfying 3-2 win.
*Walkoff 7: June 11, 2006: This is the only of Ortiz’s seven Red Sox walkoffs that I was not sitting in the Fenway Park press box to witness. I had the day off, hadn’t watched much of the game, but I did go to the bottom floor of my house to watch the bottom of the ninth. Don’t you always when the Red Sox are in striking distance and Ortiz has another at-bat left? So I settle down on my futon and brace for Ortiz’s at-bat when I notice that my cousin-in-law Mary Beth’s running shoes are sitting on the floor in front of me. Knowing that Mary Beth is in my wife’s car and they’re about to leave and that MB won’t be back before she goes back to California, I run up the stairs with the sneakers and catch them before they pull out of the driveway. As my wife rolls down the window, she tells me that "something just happened in the game … Papi hit a walkoff", then I hear a delirious Joe Castiglione discussing the aftermath of a wild win over the Rangers. Oh well, I didn’t see it live, but I saw enough. I went back downstairs and saw the replay and caught Ortiz’s latest helmet flip and pile-on at home plate. What more can you say about this guy?