The Girl on the Bench: David Ortiz, against statistics

A baseball player respected by his native Dominican Republic and by Latin baseball.

His knack for forgetting the names of his classmates gave him his nickname. That “Papi” with which he called the players in the clubhouse defined him as a character, but it was his numbers on the field that defined him as an icon. And today, Cooperstown defines it with the greatest adjective: immortal.

The race of big daddy has gone against the statistics, one of the phrases with which, in fact, he begins to tell his story in his autobiography called Big Papi. He is the only natural designated hitter to have been inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot (84.2% of his 2,408 games played at the position). TO Edgar Martinez took ten years, performed the job in the position 71.4% of the time, while frank thomas, for example, was a DH in 56.4% of games (Data from Anthony Castrovince of

His transformation was based on belief. In the twins, the cue was clear: They asked him to stop going for home runs and focus on the small ball. But David’s talent was too great to be limited. So in Boston he got his element and managed to raise his batting percentage and surpass, for the first time in his career, .300.

But I dare to say that that phrase that he released spontaneously in one of the most vulnerable moments of Boston, from a city that had idolized him since 2003, was what finally established him as a hero. It was in the first home game at Fenway Park, after the 2013 Boston Marathon attacks. That “This is our fuc***g city” resonated with his fans at a time when the strength of a leader was needed . And Papi has never been afraid to take on the challenge.

I had the opportunity to interview Papi a few years ago during his induction into Hall of Fame of Latin Baseball in La Romana. His almost two meters tall loses its intimidating power by projecting an earthy man, always cheerful, who trails that special trail of the neighborhood boy who achieved his dreams. Of a loved and admired man. A baseball player respected by his native Dominican Republic and for the Latin ball. And today recognized, as it deserves, by Cooperstown.

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The Girl on the Bench: David Ortiz, against statistics