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Did You Know? – Appearances as Designated Hitter

The next appearance David Ortiz makes for the Red Sox as the designated hitter will see him set a new Major League Baseball record for most appearances as a DH.

Should David Ortiz appear tonight for the Red Sox against the Yankees at Fenway Park as the designated hitter, and by all accounts he will, he will set a new Major League Baseball record for most appearances as a DH with 1644 games, surpassing former slugger Harold Baines. Ortiz already holds the record for most starts in league history by a DH with 1625, well ahead of Baines at 1565 starts.

Big Papi is far and away the leader in most offensive categories as a designated hitter: most plate appearances (7188), most hits (1779), most doubles (450), most home runs (385), and most RBI (1256). Counting only players with at least 2000 plate appearances as a DH, his OPS of .941 ranks second to Edgar Martinez (.959).

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Did You Know? – David Ortiz and the Silver Slugger Award

Majestic David Ortiz Boston Red Sox 2013 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Red/Navy Blue
Majestic David Ortiz Boston Red Sox 2013 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey – Red/Navy Blue

Last week, David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox was named as the recipient of the 2013 Silver Slugger Award for the designated hitter position. It marked the sixth time in the past ten seasons that “Big Papi” has won the award, and the second time in the past three seasons. It extended his record for the most awards at that position, ahead of former players Paul Molitor and Edgar Martinez; his six awards also ties him with Red Sox legends Wade Boggs and Manny Ramirez for the most in team history.

Never was Big Papi’s offensive production more apparent and more valuable this season than in the Fall Classic, when he batted .688 (11-for-16) with two home runs, six RBI, seven runs scored, a .760 on-base percentage, and a 1.188 slugging percentage while making just five outs in six World Series games. He also tied a series record by reaching base in nine straight appearances, which helped him to easily walk away with the 2013 World Series MVP award.

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Did You Know? – David Ortiz and His Home Run Totals

On Wednesday afternoon in Oakland, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz hit career home run number 400, making him the 49th player in MLB history to reach this milestone.  It was also his 342nd home run in a Boston uniform, which ranks him fifth all-time in team history behind Ted Williams (521), Carl Yastrzemski (452), Jim Rice (382), and Dwight Evans (379).  “Big Papi” also ranks second behind Manny Ramirez in number of at-bats per home run at 14.7, just ahead of Jimmie Foxx and Williams.

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Manny Ramirez To Los Angeles, Jason Bay To Boston

In a move reminiscent of the trade that sent former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs just before the 2004 trading deadline, Boston made a three-way trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Dodgers that sent future Baseball Hall of Fame slugger Manny Ramirez out west to join Garciaparra and former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre in L.A., while the Sox received Jason Bay from Pittsburgh in exchange for outfielder Brandon Moss and reliever Craig Hansen. The Pirates also received two players from the Dodgers to complete the deal, third baseman Andy LaRoche and pitcher Bryan Morris.

Ramirez, who earlier this season hit career home run number 500 to become just the third player to reach that mark in a Boston uniform, had recently and publicly voiced his unhappiness with team management for failing to pick up his option for the 2009 season; he had even offered to waive his option to void the trade as a 10/5 player (ten years in the league, five years with the same club). In the end, the Red Sox decided that it was better to part ways with the disgruntled slugger, who was batting .299 with 20 home runs and 68 RBI through action on Wednesday; in return, they get the 29-year-old Bay, who was batting .282 with 22 home runs and 64 RBI to this point in the season with the Pirates. Bay is expected to join the club in time for the opener of a three-game weekend series with the Oakland Athletics beginning Friday night at Fenway Park and will play left field in front of the Green Monster where Ramirez stood for many years.

Despite the ugly departure of the eight-time Boston All-Star, Ramirez will be remembered as one of the greatest right-handed batters in club history. Over seven-plus seasons, the eccentric flycatcher hit 274 home runs, which currently places him fifth all-time amongst Boston sluggers past and present, at an amazing rate of 14.4 at-bats per home run. His other numbers with the club speak for themselves; amongst franchise career leaders, he ranks ninth all-time in batting average (.312), sixth in runs batted in (868), fifth in on-base percentage (.411), and fourth in slugging percentage (.588). The respect opposing pitchers had for Ramirez also had a hand in building the career of David Ortiz; after a sub-par start to his career in Minnesota, Ortiz joined the Red Sox in 2003 and, with the perennial All-Star hitting behind him, developed into one of the most feared left-handed power hitters in the game. Eventually, the two sluggers became one of the greatest one-two punches in recorded baseball history, hitting a combined total of 422 home runs in five-plus seasons together; the two also combined over 40 times for home runs in the same game, the most by two teammates over that span.

Notably, Ramirez was at his best when it counted most for the Sox: the post-season. In 165 at-bats over nine playoff series, he batted .321, averaging .375 or better four times, hit 11 home runs, drove home 36 runs, and even won World Series MVP honors in the 2004 Fall Classic batting .412 with a home run and four RBI. In part due to his efforts, the Red Sox won two world championships in four years after the team went 86 years between titles.

Did You Know? – Red Sox All-Stars

Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game was first played in 1933 at old Comiskey Park in Chicago and future Hall of Fame catcher Rick Ferrell became the first (and only) player from the Red Sox named to the American League team. Since then, a total of 97 players have made 257 appearances representing Boston. The player who has made the most appearances for Boston is Ted Williams, who played on 19 All-Star teams between 1940 and 1960; 12 times, he was named the starting left fielder for the Junior Circuit representatives, also a team record. In second place is Carl Yastrzemski, who was named to 18 All-Star squads and started seven games at three different positions; left field, center field, and first base. Bobby Doerr is third with nine appearances and five starting roles, while Wade Boggs and Jim Rice each represented Boston eight times, Boggs starting seven times at third base and Rice starting four times in the outfield.

With regards to the number of All-Stars named from Boston in a given season, the 1946 squad includes eight All-Stars: Williams, Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, Boo Ferriss, Mickey Harris, Johnny Pesky, Hal Wagner, and Rudy York. Three times, the Red Sox sent seven players: 1977, 1978, and 2002. Twice, they sent six players: 1949 and 2007. Only ten times has the requisite single representative been named from Boston, most recently as 2001 when perennial All-Star outfielder Manny Ramirez was sent to Safeco Field in Seattle to represent the Red Sox in his first season with the club.

Ramirez Earns “B” For Baseball Hall Of Fame

When career home run number 500 left the bat of Boston Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez on 31 May versus the Orioles in Baltimore, two things were made clear. The first is that he is all but assured a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown when he makes his first appearance on the ballot; given the likelihood that he will play another four years, in Boston or elsewhere, that places him in line for 2018, so be sure to reserve your tickets now. The only question might be how they are going to design in those long-flowing dreadlocks he wears today, but I digress. The second is that when the time comes for the powers that be at the Hall to chose what cap Ramirez will be fashioned atop those dreads, it’s all but assured that he will be sporting the spoked “B” that he wears on his cap today as a member of the Red Sox.

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A Grand Scheme – Lowell and Drew Clear The Bases with Slams

Besides winning the final game of a home series against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park this afternoon, 11-8, to complete a four-game sweep, the game also featured grand slams from Boston Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew and third baseman Mike Lowell in the second and sixth innings, respectively. Drew’s home run came after Manny Ramirez, Lowell, and Kevin Youkilis hit consecutive singles off starter Brian Bannister, his third career grand slam. Lowell’s base-clearing blast came with two outs after the Royals intentionally walked a struggling Ramirez, who remains stuck on 498 career home runs; it was Lowell’s sixth career slam and his third since joining Boston.

It marked the first time since 2003 that the Red Sox hit two grand slams in a single game when Bill Mueller hit grand slams from both sides of the plate on 29 July, the first player in major league history to accomplish the feat. The last time two separate Boston players hit grand slams in the same game was in 1995 when former infielder John Valentin and first baseman Mo Vaughn did it on the road at Yankee Stadium on 02 May, accounting for the only runs in an 8-0 shutout of New York. The last time it happened at Fenway was nearly 24 years ago when Bill Buckner and Tony Armas each hit one off Detroit Tigers pitcher Jack Morris in the first and second inning, respectively, of a 12-7 win.

Did You Know? – Boston Post-Season Comebacks

With the Boston Red Sox facing elimination from the American League Championship Series, down three games to one to the Cleveland Indians, Red Sox fans can take solace in the fact that Boston has a recent history of coming back to win when facing early deficits in playoff series. In 1999, the club faced quick elimination from post-season play when they fell behind two games to none in a best-of-five divisional series with the Indians, but the Sox bounced back with two wins at home and won the series finale 12-8 behind two home runs from Troy O’Leary and a memorable relief effort from Pedro Martinez. Four years later in 2003, Boston also fell behind the Oakland Athletics 2-0 in their divisional match-up, but two wins at Fenway Park sent the series back west for the finale, where a three-run home run by Manny Ramirez, seven strong innings from Martinez, and a save by Derek Lowe gave Boston a 4-3 win in the deciding game.

Boston is also one of ten teams in post-season history to climb back from a 3-1 series deficit to win the series.[1] In 1986, the Sox were one out away from losing to the California Angels in the American League Championship Series when Dave Henderson’s two-run home run to left field at Angel Stadium gave Boston a temporary one-run cushion; the Red Sox would eventually win the game 7-6 in extra innings to force the series back to the East Coast. There, perhaps still stunned by the turn of events in Game Five, the Angels easily crumbled under the sodium lights at Fenway Park as Boston won Game Six 10-4 and then took Game Seven 8-1 behind a strong effort by Roger Clemens and home runs by Dwight Evans and Jim Rice to win the pennant. Boston also accomplished the same feat 18 years later in one of the most memorable comebacks in league history. Against the New York Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series, the Red Sox found themselves down three games to none after getting trounced 19-8 in Game Three at Fenway Park, but Boston won two extra-inning affairs in Games Four and Five to send the series back to New York. After winning Game Six to force a winner-take-all finale, the Red Sox completed the first-ever comeback from a 3-0 post-season series deficit in Major League Baseball with an easy 10-3 win over a shell-shocked New York ball club, with former Boston outfielder Johnny Damon hitting two home runs and driving home six in the effort.

Boston Red Sox Head To 2007 ALCS

Thanks to a strong performance by starter Josh Beckett in Game 1, a game-winning walk-off home run by Manny Ramirez in Game 2, and back-to-back shots by David Ortiz and Ramirez coupled with a strong start by Curt Schilling in Game 3, the Boston Red Sox swept the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in three games in their divisional series match-up and will now face either the Cleveland Indians or the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series. This marks the third time in five years that Boston has punched its ticket for a chance to win a pennant and Boston will begin its quest Friday at home at Fenway Park. Boston has also now won nine straight games against the Angels franchise in post-season history, going back to Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS.

Boston got off to a strong start in the series with Beckett pitching a complete game shutout, his second consecutive post-season shutout after blanking the New York Yankees in the deciding game of the 2003 World Series, while Kevin Youkilis and Ortiz each hit home runs to pace the offense. In the second game, despite a shaky start by Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Red Sox and Angels were tied 3-3 in the ninth when Angels manager Mike Scioscia elected to intentionally walk Ortiz with two outs and a runner on second to get to Ramirez, but Scioscia’s move backfired when the Boston slugger drove a pitch high and deep over the Green Monster to give Boston a 2-0 series advantage heading to Anaheim. Then, in Game 3, Schilling pitched seven strong, yielding just six hits and one walk while striking out four to further build his reputation as a big-game pitcher in the post-season. Meanwhile, Ortiz and Ramirez went back-to-back in the fourth inning to give Boston all the cushion it would need, and a seven-run eighth by the visitors sealed the win and the series for Boston.

Boston’s last ALCS appearance was in 2004 against New York when the Red Sox came back from an 0-3 series deficit to win in seven games, the last two wins coming at Yankee Stadium; the team then went on to capture its first World Series championship in 86 years, sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in four games. In franchise history, Boston has won 10 American League pennants and has won three American League Championship Series in five tries.

Did You Know? – Red Sox All-Star Game Final Vote Winners

With 4.3 million votes cast in his favor over four days of online balloting on MLB.com, Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Hideki Okajima became the final player selected to represent the American League at tonight’s All-Star Game in San Francisco. The first-year pitcher, who played for 12 seasons in Japan, beat out fellow pitcher Jeremy Bonderman of the Detroit Tigers for the honor.[1] He also became the sixth Red Sox player to join the All-Star team alongside pitchers Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon, first baseman David Ortiz, third baseman Mike Lowell, and outfielder Manny Ramirez.

Okajima also becomes the third Red Sox player selected to the All-Star game through the All-Star Final Vote process. In 2002, the first year that the selection was made by the fans, former outfielder Johnny Damon made his first of two eventual trips with Boston to the All-Star game; he would enter the game in the fifth as a defensive replacement and go 1-for-3 with a run scored and a stolen base at Miller Park in Milwaukee. The following season, the honor went to catcher Jason Varitek who made his first All-Star squad but never entered the game at Comiskey Park in Chicago. Both players would make their second appearance with the Red Sox at the Mid-Summer Classic in 2005 and get the nod from the fans as starters for the American League squad along with Ortiz and Ramirez in the starting lineup at Comerica Park in Detroit.

[1] Hideki Okajima wins 2007 American League Monster All-Star Final Vote. MLB.com, 05 July 2007.