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David Ortiz adds to postseason legend

Oct 14, 2013, 1:01 AM EDT

ALCS - Detroit Tigers v Boston Red Sox - Game Two Getty Images

With a laser beam of a grand slam in the eighth inning on Sunday night, David Ortiz essentially saved the Red Sox’s World Series hopes and further his cause as the greatest clutch hitter of his generation. But no matter how you feel about “clutch,” there’s no denying the numbers.

The homer was Ortiz’s 15th in the postseason, tying him with Babe Ruth for ninth place on the all-time list. Two of those were walkoff shots. It gave him 54 RBI in 72 games, moving him past Albert Pujols for fifth place there:

Most postseason RBI
80 – Bernie Williams (.850 OPS in 121 games)
78 – Manny Ramirez (.937 OPS in 111 games)
63 – David Justice (.717 OPS in 112 games)
61 – Derek Jeter (.838 OPS in 158 games)
54 – David Ortiz (.933 OPS in 72 games)
52 – Albert Pujols (1.046 OPS in 74 games)
48 – Reggie Jackson (.885 OPS in 77 games)
47 – Chipper Jones (.864 OPS in 93 games)
42 – Jim Edmonds (.874 OPS in 64 games)
42 – Jorge Posada (.745 OPS in 123 games)

Ortiz’s rebirth as a force after it looked like he was done as a major asset in 2009 has added to what would have been a very tough sell as a Hall of Fame case. He had an exquisite run from 2003-07, finishing in the top five in the AL in the MVP balloting every year, but because he’s a DH, he did little before age 27 and he’s still lacking in black ink (one home run title, two RBI titles), it was going to take that clutch rep to put him over the top. Now, after three more seasons as one of the AL’s elite hitters, he has much more solid career numbers to add to his case and he’d seem to be a likely choice if not for the steroid allegations that will always hang over his head. Even with the leaked positive test — for what, we’ll apparently never know — he may garner enough support once the doors are eventually opened for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

  1. amaninwhite - Oct 14, 2013 at 1:16 AM

    Bigger postseason legend: Papi or Beltran?

    • jpstyles314 - Oct 14, 2013 at 2:10 AM

      We will see when they meet next round.

    • jpstyles314 - Oct 20, 2013 at 3:47 AM

      Now, the fun starts….

  2. Staff - Oct 14, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    Reblogged this on SoshiTech.

  3. psunick - Oct 14, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    Clutch? Momentum? What sabermatrician worth his or her salt would dare speak in such terms?

    • anotheryx - Oct 14, 2013 at 1:54 AM

      Those are fine thing to describe past event, as long as you understand they have little predictive value.

    • dan1111 - Oct 14, 2013 at 3:28 AM

      I am a big fan of Ortiz, but his postseason numbers basically duplicate his regular season numbers. He has had several key hits for the Sox, particularly in 2004, but it is not clear whether he has delivered more often than one would expect in those situations. After all, he is a great hitter who has had many opportunities in the playoffs.

      • joshshaine - Oct 14, 2013 at 9:18 AM

        The number of great regular season players whose post-season numbers have seriously disappointed is not small.

        The list above is filled with “great hitters who have had many opportunities in the playoffs.” Ortiz drove in more per game than the others on that list.

        But it looks as if he simply came up with runners on more often than many of them, as well. When you stop to look how he did given the opportunity, he is *still* one of the best… but not quite tops.

        Pujols is the best of that bunch and it is not even close – he did more with less opportunity. Beltran’s numbers are even better. If he’d had more games he’d be there.

        Gehrig just wins this game.

      • dan1111 - Oct 14, 2013 at 10:33 AM

        @josh, I agree that Ortiz has been great in the postseason. I just don’t see evidence of some mythical “clutch” ability.

  4. cabrera24 - Oct 14, 2013 at 2:06 AM

    Papi cause he’s only done it with one team . But the fact that Beltran can actually still defend, it can go either way . But late in the game if I had to use Papi or Beltran I go with Papi .

  5. Carl Hancock - Oct 14, 2013 at 2:12 AM

    Papi or Beltran? For me it would be Beltran. And not just because I’m a Cardinals fan but because of the opposite of what another post… the fact that Beltran has done what he’s done for multiple teams is impressive. Not only that but his defense has also one games. Case in point, his outfield assist in extra innings of Game 1. That after hitting in the only RBI’s up until the point and then hitting a walk off to end it. But Papi is right there with him. But I give th edge to Beltran simply because of his glove and the fact he’s not just a DH.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 14, 2013 at 8:03 AM

      Stats so far, and remember that Ortiz has almost double the PA:

      Beltran – .340/.448/.927 – 1.374 OPS
      Oritz – .284/.394/.665 – 1.049 OPS

      WPA (how much does one affect the outcome of the game)
      Beltran – 2.334
      Ortiz – 0.953

      RE24 (how many runs, via Run Expectancy, did the hitter contribute)
      Beltran – 26.64
      Oritz – 12.32

      Add in that Beltran is a good defender and amazing baserunner, and I think you have your answer

  6. Jack Marshall - Oct 14, 2013 at 6:34 AM

    Comparing Ortiz with a blatant and shameless steroid cheat like Bonds is despicably unfair—and Barry will never get into the Hall of Fame. (Nor, I suspect, will Papi.)

    • dan1111 - Oct 14, 2013 at 7:29 AM

      “Despicably unfair”? That’s a little much. The story doesn’t suggest that Ortiz’s steroid allegations are similar to those of Bonds, or even compare the two in any way. It even highlights the weakness of the steroid case against Ortiz. The suggestion that the fate of Bonds and Clemens will influence the Hall of Fame cases of lesser players with steroid questions is correct, in my opinion.

  7. bmoreravens1012013 - Oct 14, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    A known p.e.d. cheater. Yet he’s a heralded legend….smdh. This is exactly what’s wrong with baseball. Act as if cheating is so bad , they have suspended Arod for over 200 games. What a joke. This is what drives me crazy about baseball. You say one thing and do another to the point its laughable. I realize Ortiz hasn’t failed a test when its official, bit he sure did fail when it was unofficial and all you sycophants can’t dispute that ( ironically Ortiz can’t either, I’m still waiting for him to get back to us on that lol) , hes a cheater and I have no respect for him , and even less respect for you “writers” who proclaim he is a legend. Lmao….If he’s a legend , then we are really sad as a society.

    • drewzducks - Oct 14, 2013 at 2:12 PM

      Just as long as you similarly admit that Ray Lewis is also a cheater and will NEVER be considered a legend.

  8. rje49 - Oct 14, 2013 at 8:15 AM

    What would it look like without Beltran’s 8-homer 2004 postseason?

    • stex52 - Oct 14, 2013 at 8:42 AM

      Not sure why you are asking. You don’t want to cherry-pick statistics, do you?

  9. pdowdy83 - Oct 14, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    Rje, if the question is about who is the bigger postseason legend why would you remove one if the best postseason performances ever? If you remove Beltran’s 2004 then you have to remove Ortiz’s as well. 2004 was the year both really started their courses to even have this conversation now.

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