After the Boston Marathon bombings of 2013, the country went into shock and Boston felt at a loss. At the very next Red Sox home game, David Ortiz got a microphone to talk to the fans. In this speech, he thanked the mayor, the governor and the police department. He may not be the mayor of Boston, but he sure means everything to Red Sox Nation. His dedication to Boston, to the Red Sox, and to the fans have made him one of the best and most recognizable players in the history of baseball. David Ortiz is and will always be my Athlete CRUSH for his remarkable Character and his undeniable Skill.
For a player who is retiring at the end of the 2016 season, Ortiz is certainly not lacking in Skill. Over his career, Ortiz has been a consistently great hitter by any type of statistical measure one could argue. This season, he is leading the American League in doubles (29), on-base percentage (.423), and slugging percentage (.715) while ranking 2nd in RBI’s (57), 5th in home runs (17), 3rd in batting average (.344), and 7th in WAR (3.2). This strong play has helped the Red Sox to a 37-28 record, ranking as the 6th best record in baseball.
This is not merely a great season for a 40-year-old. This is a triple crown threatening, MVP-caliber start to the season for the Red Sox legend. In terms of his overall career success, this season has seen him join an elite club as only the 3rd player in MLB history to hit 500 home runs and 600 doubles in a career. The other two? Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron. Considering his 3 World Series Championships and 9 All-Star selections as well, Ortiz has built up a résumé that Cooperstown would be foolish to ignore.
Beyond his skill, Ortiz is widely known for his Character. Big Papi is recognized as one of the nicest players in baseball. He frequently takes on fan interaction opportunities, including a recent day he spent with 6-year-old Maverick. He has been recognized by the league for his sportsmanship and community involvement as the 2011 recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award. In the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award press release, it states that the David Ortiz Children’s Fund “raised more than $1.5 million (in 2010), providing funding for more than 200 lifesaving heart operations and helping numerous children in New England receive the care they needed.
Additionally, Ortiz annually donates his time and resources to benefit Massachusetts General Hospital and other organizations, programs and causes.” Being a player who dedicates so much to those around him is commendable and makes Papi one of the most community-oriented players in all of sports.
A photo posted by Sarah Narracci (@sarahnarracci) on
Truth is, I could go on and on about David Ortiz (and believe me, I have). Growing up as a Red Sox fan, I have never seen another player garner the respect of his teammates, the respect of his opponents, and the respect of Red Sox Nation the way David Ortiz has. Ortiz grabbing that microphone displayed a level of leadership and Character that has made him a symbol of what I believe all athletes should aspire to be for their communities. A leader on the field, in the clubhouse, and in the community, Big Papi will forever be my Athlete CRUSH as he finishes out his illustrious career.
Posted 17 June 2016