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I did not know this: David Ortiz to set a DH record soon

Apr 30, 2012, 12:03 PM EDT

ortiz getty Getty Images

Time goes slower when you’re young, so to a kid who grew up in the 1980s — it felt like Harold Baines played for 100 years. Now, as an adult, time goes way too fast, so it seems like David Ortiz has only been around for a moderate amount of time. Except, as Rob Bradford of WEEI says:

… when analyzing exactly how unique Ortiz is in the game today understand that he is about to break a record that may never be broken again — most plate appearances by a designated hitter. He enters Monday’s game 361 behind the all-time leader, Harold Baines.

Just didn’t realize he was that close. I suppose part of it is that Baines managed to play some outfield along the way as late as his stint with Oakland whereas Ortiz only gets a couple of token starts at first during interleague season, but still, I was kinda surprised by that.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    Wait..What? Didn’t think that new-fangled DH talk was allowed around these parts, for corn’s sake

    • mybrunoblog - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM

      Good this this post did not contain the obligatory PED reference we always get when people mention Ortiz. I mean c’mon, everyone was doing it.

      • petey1999 - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:31 PM


      • daisycutter1 - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:59 PM

        Not sure why. Ortiz was on the same FAIL list as A-Rod and Manny, yet everyone seems to forget about his steroid use.

      • bigleagues - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:38 PM

        DaisyCutter . . .

        The only FAIL’s regarding that leaked voluntary MLBPA test are the Commissioners Office and the MLBPA.

        The reason David Ortiz has avoided the same scrutiny as Manny should be obvious – Ortiz has never tested positive for a PED under MLB’s sanctioned PED testing program. Manny has.

        A-Rod was effectively caught with his pants down and basically had his hand forced into a public admission, then before the dust had even settled a new allegation (that was never denied) surfaced.

        Ortiz on the hand denied ever taking a known banned substance. The pessimist will call that disingenuous, and I can respect that. But like i said Ortiz has never been implicated in any other way shape or form, whereas many of the other players on that infamous government seized and leaked voluntary test list were.

        And then, of course there is Michael Weiner’s statement at the day of Papi’s press conference, which has never, to my knowledge, ever been knocked down as inaccurate or incorrect:

        “Substantial scientific questions exist as to the interpretation of some of the 2003 test results,” Weiner said. “The more definitive methods that are utilized by the lab that administers the current drug agreement were not utilized by the lab responsible for the anonymous testing program in 2003.”

        Under the rules of the 2003 testing, Weiner said “legally available nutritional supplements could trigger an initial ‘positive’ test under our program.”

        And it is worth noting that no one from the MLBPA ever made such a statement on behalf of any of the other implicated players . . . only Papi.

        So you can leave the PED guilt by association argument on the floor where it belongs.

      • daisycutter1 - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:46 PM

        Wait…so since A-Rod admitted using PEDs following the leaked test results and Ortiz made up an absurd story about Dominican milkshakes and swore – a la OJ – he’s going to find the guy who set him up, that makes Ortiz the good guy here.

        It’s amazing the knots Red Sox fans tie themselves in to let Ortiz off the hook. Just admit he used during 2003, and most likely 2004 and 2007 as well. It’ll be cleansing.

      • bigleagues - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:42 PM

        Pedro? er, uh, I mean . . . Daisycutter:

        Ehhh, I guess it depends on what your definition of “is” is.

        You can divine your own speculative truths or you can follow the known facts.

        – Michael Weiner issued a statement on the same day of Papi’s press conference in which he made it clear while he couldn’t speak specifically about the result of Ortiz 2003 voluntary non-standardized survey test, Weiner wanted to make it clear that several players essentially had false positives for perfectly legal, not banned substances.

        – Ortiz, at the press conference, chose to reveal that Weiner had told him privately that he had not tested for a banned substance. Weiner has never denied stating this to Ortiz.

        – Ortiz has never tested positive under the sanctioned standardized PED testing program. Many other players have.

        So, by your logic, everyone who hasn’t tested positive since standardized testing began must be guilty because they somehow haven’t been proven to be innocent.

        A-Fraud on the other hand, was also on that voluntary non-standardized survey test result list. I suppose he could have also denied having ever taken a known banned substance, but ya see not only had Canseco named A-Fraud in Juiced but then SI had done an investigative report and basically had the goods on Rodriguez factual usage of a banned substance.

        And then, of course, we can fast forward to 2010 when it was revealed that A-Fraud had been treated by Tony Galea in Toronto, a sports doctor who at the time was under investigation for distributing HGH to professional athletes. A-Fraud visited him, when? During that admitted 2001-2003 period?

        Uh no . . . A-Fraud visited Galea for treatment in March 2009 . . . just about a month after his now infamous press conference. Of course we didn’t learn about that visit until February 2010.

        Galea incidentally admitted last summer to bringing illegally labeled PED substances into the US to treat athletes. He is not permitted to enter the US anymore without written consent of the US government and had to agree to assist in the US government and RMP investigations.

        Personally, I think the reaction to the PED scandal here in the US is rich in ignorance and bordering on hysterical. I’m not so sure that Galea isn’t on to something.

      • daisycutter1 - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:19 PM

        “A-Fraud.” This is apparently what passes for wit in Red Sox Nation.

        As for the rest of your second novel-length post, you’re just further proving my point about Sox fans tying themselves in knots to absolve their guys while shaming everyone else…so thanks for that.

      • bigleagues - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:37 PM


        And you’re a typical Yankees fan . . . can’t be bothered to read.

        Oh, uh btw . . . what Yankees fan doesn’t doesn’t know that “A-Fraud” was coined by . . . .

        wait for it . . . .

        wait for it . . .


        Well, how do you like that? This isn’t a fair fight though. I’ve proven over and over that I know more about the Yankees than the average Yankees fan.

        But don’t believe me on the A’Fraud thing . . . ask you’re boy Joe Torre. He’ll tell you. It’s in his book.


      • daisycutter1 - May 1, 2012 at 11:56 AM

        “ask you’re boy Joe Torre”

        I can read. The problem is you can’t write, a point further proven by your practically criminal overuse of ellipses and one-sentence paragraphs.

  2. b7p19 - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Why would this never be broken? Seems like every other record that gets broken is talked about as unbreakable. The DH isn’t going anywhere, so I’m guessing another fat guy that can hit will come around eventually and beat this record.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      It’s for WEEI for one, so forgive the lack of actual analysis. Most likely it’s meant that with teams using a more rotating DH than before (a la the Yanks), we won’t see a team play one DH for 12 straight years.

      • heynerdlinger - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM

        Maybe, but what’s to say a player won’t be a DH for 12-straight years. This isn’t a single-team record, it’s career PA as a DH.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        Nothing to say it won’t, but it’s essentially selection bias. You need a player great enough to pencil into the DH slot every day (like Martinez and Ortiz have done) but have 0 defensive value or else they’d play the player somewhere on the field. Martinez’s value on defense was shot b/c he didn’t have hamstrings, Ortiz has played with some really good 1b lately.

    • bigleagues - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      The issue is a legit one . . . why pay a superstar-level DH (there really is only one at this point) when you can save that money and allocate it for other needs, instead identifying players already on the roster that can take on that roll when needed . . . or take advantage of a young hitter under team control who has yet to find a position on your roster?

      That Ortiz became the full-time DH for the Red Sox really is a fluke. They brought him on board in hopes he could play 1B in a platoon.

    • wlschneider09 - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:40 PM

      I’m betting on Billy Butler or Jesus Montero.

  3. petey1999 - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    After all this time, it’s great fun to watch Papi reinventing himself – consistently beating the shift by going to left; losing 25 lbs. and running the bases like a much younger guy; and, most importantly, having his best start to a season ever. Always likeable, he’s elevated his performance to another level.

  4. garylanglais - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Next question becomes…Is he a HOF’er?

    Reasons for: Career .285/.379/.546 hitter, 7 All-Stars, 5 Silver Sluggers, 5 top-5 MVP finishes, 2 WS Titles, 10 (and counting) seasons of 20+ HR’s. Currently at 382 HR’s…could finish with 450+

    Reasons against: Only a DH, linked to the 2003 steroids list.

    No pure DH has made the HoF, with Paul Molitor being the closest. Don’t think Ortiz gets to the “500 HR milestone” which hurts his case. However, one could argue his post-season successes could make up that gap. It’s certainly a debatable case either way.

    • mybrunoblog - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      David Ortiz will get on the HOF when he pays his $17.50 like the rest of us.

      • bigleagues - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:43 PM


      • garylanglais - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:45 PM

        Definitely not that cut and dry.

    • bigleagues - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      The ‘only a DH’ argument fails every time with me.

      Why? Because if we are gonna put Closers in who have the ability to effect the outcome 50-60 games a year, how is it rational to exclude a dominant hitting DH who has the potential to effect the outcome of all 162 games?

      David Ortiz is easily the greatest DH of all-tme, and he will be the first inducted into the HOF.

      • bigleagues - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:55 PM

        *affect not effect (got to check my grammar better)

      • rooney24 - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:30 PM

        I won’t argue that Ortiz may be the best, but I will argue the “easily”. Edgar Martinez was pretty darn good as well.

      • bigleagues - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:51 PM

        As I noted below as “DH’s” they are virtually dead even in PA’s and overall career production. So if we are just focused on 10 years vs 10 years, then yes they are as close to even as it gets.

        But as Ortiz is just 36 and by all appearances, barring significant injury, has 2-3 seasons of very good, if not great production, left . . . and he will end up with far gawdier numbers than Martinez.

    • 18thstreet - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      I don’t think he deserves to go, but your question is, is he?

      The voters obviously will reject him without a second though. He’s a DH (and they’ve rejected Edgar Martinez), he’s suspected of steroid use (without any suspensions), and his counting stats won’t reach any magic numbers.

      There’s not a chance in hell he goes it.

      Like I said, I don’t think he deserves to. But I stopped caring that the voters think, and I’d advise everyone else to do the same.

      • 18thstreet - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:57 PM

        I’m sorry about all the typos.

      • 18thstreet - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:31 PM

        Very sad when my apology gets more thumbs up than the original comment. Tough day on 18th Street.

    • mornelithe - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:02 PM

      Make that 384 HR’s, and 36 Multi-HR Games

  5. bigleagues - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    David Ortiz will be the first “DH” elected to the Hall of Fame.

    That Edgar Martinez has yet to garner serious consideration for the Hall shows how stunted HOF voters are when evaluating who should or shouldn’t be in the Hall. But Ortiz will expose them as fools if he doesn’t gain induction.

    Ortiz dropped what appears to be 30-40 lbs from his frame this past off-season. He is one player, who, at least visually, seems to have committed to improving his conditioning and taking his long-term career more seriously. The results thus far are nothing short of OMFG. He looks a lot more like the Papi of old . . . circa 2007 to be exact. His bat is quicker, he’s quicker, his power is still all there and it begs the question, at least from my perspective, WHAT IF?

    What if Papi played closer to this weight throughout his career. Would he have avoided some of the injuries and dip in production a few years ago? Hard to say. I hate interleague, but it’ll be interesting to see if he is any more nimble around the bag at 1B in his newly trimmed body.

    What I do know is this David Ortiz is easily the greatest DH ever.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      What I do know is this David Ortiz is easily the greatest DH ever

      Curious why you’d pick him over Martinez?

      • bigleagues - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:20 PM

        Overall, as DH’s they are virtually dead even in production in virtually the same number of PA’s, but it seems fairly certain at this point that Ortiz will blow past Edgar in terms of career production. Edgar holds will likely always hold the edge in career BA and possibly OPS but Ortiz already has 250+ more TB’s, far more HR and 100 more RBI.

        I   Split    G   PA   AB   R    H  2B 3B  HR  RBI  BB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS   TB IBB ROE BAbip tOPS+
            as DH 1433 6262 5351 948 1539 394 15 337 1112 832 .288 .383 .556 .939 2974 107  34  .306   103

        Provided by View Original TableGenerated 4/30/2012.

        I   Split    G   PA   AB   R    H  2B 3B  HR  RBI  BB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS   TB IBB BAbip tOPS+
            as DH 1403 6218 5111 935 1607 370  6 243 1003 986 .314 .428 .532 .959 2718  93  .340   106

        Provided by View Original TableGenerated 4/30/2012.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:43 PM

        The reason I ask is there’s a huge difference between playing at Safeco and playing at Fenway for a hitter, especially a left hander. Was the Kingdome a hitters ballpark? Even still, Martinez has the better triple slash and a better OPS+ (doubtful Ortiz can make up 10 pts). At worst we can call it a wash.

        What’ll be interesting to see is if the media narrative helps Ortiz over Martinez? Ortiz, who apparently failed a test in ’03 and is hanging out with OJ searching for the truth, seems to have had that information white washed via the media (whereas you can’t go a week without someone bringing up Arod’s PED issues). Also, the media adored Ortiz during the ’03-’07 playoff run. Wonder if that’ll help him in the later years, especially as he’s over that wrist injury and back to his previous self.

      • bigleagues - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:06 PM

        Home/Road Splits (Overall Career – don’t have “As DH” readily available, although I’m I could find it somewhere, and includes Ortiz first few years in MN)

        Edgar Martinez

        I   Split    G   PA   R    H  2B 3B  HR RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS   TB ROE BAbip tOPS+
             Home 1017 4283 600 1090 268  5 149 636 .311 .423 .517 .940 1815  31  .337   102
             Away 1038 4391 619 1157 246 10 160 625 .312 .412 .514 .926 1903  42  .334    98

        Provided by View Original TableGenerated 4/30/2012.

        David Ortiz

        I   Split   G   PA   R   H  2B 3B  HR RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS   TB BAbip tOPS+
             Home 897 3718 567 968 262 13 172 691 .306 .399 .560 .959 1772  .337   108
             Away 866 3638 506 824 203  3 210 593 .263 .358 .531 .890 1663  .271    92

        Provided by View Original TableGenerated 4/30/2012.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:44 PM

        thanks, and I really need a b-ref subscription b/c those charts are amazing.

    • aceshigh11 - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      I think it’s genuinely absurd to overlook Edgar Martinez.

      For better or worse, the concept of the designated hitter has been well-established in the American League since 1973 (!)…nearly four decades!

      Hitters that have excelled at that position should absolutely be seriously considered. The idea that designated hitters are automatically no good at playing defense, simply by virtue of them being designated hitters, is absurdly simplistic.

      I mean, what AL manager WOULDN’T take advantage of adding a designated hitter to his lineup?

      Blame the game, not the player. Ugh, that sounds WAY too hip hop, but you get my point.

      • bigleagues - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:41 PM

        I fully agree with Edgar warranting far more serious Hall consideration.

    • CJ - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      But Ortiz will expose them as fools if he doesn’t gain induction.

      But, for Ortiz to expose them as fools, that would mean they haven’t already been exposed as such.

    • bigleagues - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      BTW, I should note that a case could be made that Paul Molitor was, in fact, the first DH elected to the HOF.

      DH was easily his most played ‘position’ at nearly 44% of his career At Bats; he was an average fielder at best at the positions he did play (all but Catcher) and he certainly made his HOF case easier with that HIGHLY productive end of career run at DH . . . including placing 2nd in MVP voting at age 36 . . .

      Year   Age  Tm    G    PA    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+   TB
      1992    35 MIL  158   701   89  195  36   7  12   89  31 .320 .389 .461 .851  139  281
      1993    36 TOR  160   725  121  211  37   5  22  111  22 .332 .402 .509 .911  143  324
      1994    37 TOR  115   516   86  155  30   4  14   75  20 .341 .410 .518 .927  138  235
      1995    38 TOR  130   598   63  142  31   2  15   60  12 .270 .350 .423 .772  101  222
      1996    39 MIN  161   729   99  225  41   8   9  113  18 .341 .390 .468 .858  116  309
      1997    40 MIN  135   597   63  164  32   4  10   89  11 .305 .351 .435 .786  104  234
      1998    41 MIN  126   559   75  141  29   5   4   69   9 .281 .335 .382 .718   86  192
      21 Yrs         2683 12167 1782 3319 605 114 234 1307 504 .306 .369 .448 .817  122 4854

      Provided by View Original TableGenerated 4/30/2012.

      • bigleagues - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:59 PM

        sorry, should have been “nearly 44% of his career Plate Appearances”

  6. stabonerichard - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    A guy like Billy Butler will be at over 2K plate appearances as a DH by season’s end, and he just turned 26. So while it won’t necessarily be Billy boy, there will always be guys chasing Papi’s total and one of them DH’ing sumbitches will eventually surpass it.

    • stabonerichard - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:39 PM

      Plus the NL will eventually join the rest of the professional baseball landscape by no longer having pitchers dick around in the batters box (not a matter of it but when, IMO) which will mean that many more DH slots available for guys to chase Papi’s total.

      Like virtually all the rest, this is just another record that will be waiting to be broken.

    • bigleagues - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:46 PM

      You make a good point about Butler. I don’t yet think of him as a full-time DH, but he clearly has been since last year. Kind of following a similar career track as Papi in fact.

      The thing is I’m sure he is as much as a liability at 1B as Papi can be over long stretches of time and I’m not so sure he won’t eventually catch on as someone’s 1B once he becomes a FA.

  7. aceshigh11 - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    So where’s drmonkeyarmy to whinge about Dominican milkshakes?

    C’mon man, we need your “valuable” insight into Big Papi life and career.

    • CJ - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:44 PM

      I’m sure he’ll be back to oblige once he’s finished drinking his Irish “milkshakes” for lunch.

  8. randygnyc - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Without 500 homeruns, papi won’t even get consideration. Then of course, you’d have to have 500 writers retire and hire new ones born after 2003. Perhaps posthumously after the PED era is sorted.

  9. kevinbnyc - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    I know what you mean Craig. Seems impossible to me that Ortiz has already eclipsed Edgar Martinez. But I’m a kid of the 90s, and pretty sure Edgar DH’d my whole childhood.

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