David Ortiz is synonymous with two things: homers and clutch performances. In the two decades that he spent in MLB, Ortiz antagonized pitchers, especially in the dying embers of the game. Big Papi has been one of the premier clutch hitters of all time. On this list, let's take a look at his best and most memorable homers.
David Ortiz's 5 best home runs
#5 500 home-run club
In September 12, 2015, David Ortiz became just the 27th member of the exclusive 500 home-run club. He completed the feat against the Tampa Bay Rays and off lefty Matt Moore.
Ortiz crushed the ball 426 feet into Tropicana Field's right field. He is the last player so far to join this exclusive club.
#4 Breaking the single-season record
Big Papi smashed the single-season record for a Boston Red Sox player with his 51st home run on September 21, 2006. He hit the blast against Johan Santana, one of the best pitchers during that era and was playing for—you guessed it, Ortiz's only other major league team, the Minnesota Twins. He ended the season with 54 dingers, a record that still stands in the Red Sox history books.
#3 Grand slam against the Tigers
The image above shows the aftermath of David Ortiz's famous grand slam in Game 2 of the 2013 ALCS. With the bases loaded and the Detroit Tigers up by four, the call was made for Tigers reliever Joaquin Benoit to specifically halt Ortiz and prevent any more runs from being scored.
Big Papi was six-of-twenty-two against the reliever and had never homered against him. With two outs and the bases loaded, Ortiz uncorked a blast that sent Fenway Park into delirium. The Red Sox would eventually win the game and win the series in six games.
#2 Lifts the Red Sox toward the NLCS against the Angels
Game 3 of the American League Division Series was where the Boston Red Sox picked up steam and started believing that they could go all the way. With tensions high as the Anaheim Angels came back with a seven-run barrage in the seventh inning, and with the score knotted at 6-6 in the bottom of the tenth inning, up stepped Big Papi.
Ortiz launched a nuke to the Green Monster that also scored in Pokey Reese. This sent the Angels packing and the Red Sox to the 2004 ALCS.
#1 Breaking the curse
No home run was as important to David Ortiz— nay—the Boston Red Sox organization as this one. With the New York Yankees leading the series 3-0 and Game 4 of the ALCS going into sudden death, Big Papi hit a home run that sparked a comeback for the history books.
In the bottom of the twelfth inning and with one man on base, Ortiz blasted a homer to right field off New York Yankees reliever Paul Quantrill to keep the dream alive for the Red Sox.
What would happen in the coming weeks is the stuff of legends. They became the first team in baseball to return from a 3-0 series deficit to win the series after overcoming the Yankees. They then swept the St. Louis Cardinals, the best regular-season team at the time, in the World Series to clinch their first ever title in 86 years and end The Curse of the Bambino.