.287/.413/.636, 1.049 OPS, 686 PA, 160 H, 119 BB, 54 HR, 137 RBI, 355 TB, 161 OPS+
All-Star, Silver Slugger, MVP – 3
The top 30 seasons are truly amazing – as evidenced by the fact that the season in which the all-rime Red Sox home run record is set can’t crack the 20s. That’s not a reflection on Ortiz’s season, which is his top-ranked campaign. It’s a reflection on the truly amazing seasons we’re about to look at.
In 2006, Ortiz officially became the league’s most feared clutch hitter. He followed up a near-MVP season in 2005 with a campaign that would have easily netted him the award, had the Red Sox not crashed and burned in August. Ortiz’s 2006 will be remembered for two things: Breaking Jimmie Foxx’s 69-year-old club homer record, and the five walk-off hits, including three game-ending home runs.
There’s not much else to say. We were all there. We all know what it was like. Sometimes you can’t put those feelings into words.
Key game: July 31. Having already tied a game against Cleveland at five with a third-inning home run, Ortiz comes to the plate with two on and the Sox down 8-6 with one out in the ninth – and does the unthinkable (and completely expected) by crushing a Fausto Carmona pitch into the center-field bleachers for his third game-ending home run of the season.