BOSTON — Game 6 of the World Series — a title-clinching victory for the Boston Red Sox — was probably the quietest game of the Fall Classic for David Ortiz.
Then again, he was walked four times (twice intentionally) in the contest on Wednesday night to tie a World Series single-game record. He was hardly served up anything that was worth swinging at in Boston's 6-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park, and that's mainly because he was a one-man World Series wrecking crew in the five games prior.
To say Ortiz was phenomenal wouldn't do him justice.
He batted .688 (11-for-16) in the World Series, and had a .750 on-base percentage. Those totals were the second-best in both categories ever in a single World Series.
For his efforts, he was the obvious choice for World Series Most Valuable Player. And this was a series that saw Red Sox lefty Jon Lester win two games in dominant fashion.
“I know I'm one of the forces for this ballgame, and I like to take things personal, you know,” said Ortiz, now a member of three championship Red Sox teams (also 2004, 2007). “That's been my whole career, a challenge.
“I wasn't trying to be the guy, but I know I got to get something done to keep the line moving. And thank God, everything worked out well, and I didn't even have to do anything (Wednesday night). I guess the rest of the team took over.”
Ortiz is just the third designated hitter in history to win the MVP. He did play first base in each of the three games in St. Louis. In his second at-bat of Game 5, Ortiz tied former Cincinnati Red Billy Hatcher as the only players in World Series history to reach base safely in nine straight plate appearances.
Red Sox first-year manager John Farrell largely rode Ortiz's production to the franchise's third title in 10 years.
“I'd probably rather let his bat do the talking, because it's pretty special. We're talking about a likely Hall of Fame player,” said Farrell. “He and Dustin (Pedroia) from a position player standpoint, and Jacoby (Ellsbury), not to leave anybody out, but they kind of carried the torch.”
Entering Game 6, Ortiz was hitting .737, while the rest of the team was hitting just .151. In terms of batting average, Ellsbury was the next-most productive Red Sox starter at .250 for the series.
Big Papi is hitting .454 (20-for-44) for his career in the World Series, tops among players with at least 50 World Series plate appearances. His 14 career World Series RBI matches a club record with Dwight Evans.
Of his three World Series titles, this might be the sweetest for Ortiz.
“This is a team that we have a lot of players with heart,” he said. “We probably don't have the talent that we had in '07 or '04, but we have guys that are capable to stay focused and do the little things. And when you win with a ballclub like that, that's special.”
This championship run may also be what ultimately propels Ortiz into Cooperstown one day.
There is often a debate about whether or not Ortiz belongs in the Hall of Fame, particularly because he's a DH playing in the “Steroid Era.”
But these numbers will be difficult to look past when the time comes.