Sometimes I think today’s youth doesn’t spend enough time learning about the history of sports. I got to thinking about this as Big Papi David Ortiz hit his 500th home run Saturday night. The milestone homer makes me think of some of baseball’s greatest names. And, some obscure names…
— Ortiz joins the 500 HR/3 World Series Title Club with Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson
— Only A-Rod (685) and Albert Pujols (555) are active players ahead of Ortiz on the home run list.
— Big Papi is within 21 home runs of tying Ted Williams. But, Williams missed three seasons because of military service. His 19 year career average was 27 homers a season. Add 81 to his total of 521.
— The Ortiz 500th came on the same date (September 12th) as Carl Yastrzemski’s 3,000th hit (1979).
— A Mainer, Brian Butterfield, was the first guy to congratulate Ortiz as the Sox third base coach.
— As I write this, Papi has 34 homers this year, Colorado Rockie Nolan Arenado leads the National League with 38. Ever heard of him?
— On November 28th 1992 the Seattle Mariners signed a 20-year-old David Ortiz as an amateur free agent. The day before, the Red Sox signed a free agent, OF Billy Hatcher.
— After getting traded to Minnesota, the Twins eventually released David Ortiz on December 16, 2002. The Red Sox signed him on January 22nd , 2003. Between those two dates, the Sox signed free agents OF Damian Jackson, P Kris Foster, P Chad Fox, P Ramiro Mendoza, OF Andy Abad, P Mike Timlin and 3B Bill Mueller.
— Kind of hard to believe that David Ortiz played his first season for the Sox at age 27.
— Ortiz has won the Edgar Martinez Award (Top DH) 8 times. What happens if Papi gets into the Hall of Fame and Martinez does not?
— Post-season…Ortiz has 60 RBI. Only Bernie Williams, Manny Ramirez, David Justice and Derek Jeter have more. All of them have at least 100 more at bats.
— If/when he cracks two more home runs, Papi will have more homers in a season since he hit 54 in 2006 at age 30.
— So, young sports fans, go ahead and Google some of these names…Mantle, Williams, Yaz, Arenado, Abad and Martinez. They all have a part in baseball’s history.