The Context of History

In 1936, Jimmie Foxx broke Babe Ruth’s 1919 Red Sox club record of 29 home runs probably somewhere around August. He finished the season with 41 jacks, making him the first Red Sox slugger to hit 30 and 40 home runs.

Two years later, he blew that mark away, slamming 50 in a year in which he led the league in walks (119), batting average (.349), on-base percentage (.462), RBI (172), slugging percentage (.704) and total bases (398) — but not home runs. Hank Greenberg swatted 58.

For 68 years, no Red Sox slugger had really come close. Until David Americo Ortiz, who crushed two beautiful home runs into the Fenway night. Here are the runners-up:

1949: Ted Williams, 43
1963: Dick Stuart, 42
1967: Carl Yastrzemski, 44
1978: Jim Rice, 46
1984: Tony Armas, 43
1996: Mo Vaughn, 44
2001: Manny Ramirez, 41
2004: Manny Ramirez, 43, and David Ortiz, 41
2005: David Ortiz, 47, and Manny Ramirez, 45

Four of the players on that list are or are likely to be Hall of Famers — and none of them could do what Big Papi, perhaps the most beloved Sox slugger since Yaz himself, did tonight.

Congratulations to David Ortiz. May his name live on for decades to come.

9 comments… add one
  • Indeed. In the future, what we will remember first about 2006 will be David Ortiz and his amazing homerun record. Not the August collapse, not the numerous injuries…it will be David Ortiz. It’s his world and we just live in it.
    It’s quite poetic that he broke the record against the team that dumped him, and against the best pitcher currently in baseball. And he did it at Fenway in front of his adoring fans. Do they script these things? Somedays I really wonder.

    mouse September 22, 2006, 12:13 am
  • …i’ve said it before, but thanks for the opportunity to say it again….i absolutely love david ortiz…this couldn’t happen to a nicer guy…i gave him some s— for the jeter flap, but i think he was just frustrated over the sox season, he meant no harm…he deserves the admiration of all fans for his clutch hitting, not just the home runs…he’s the brightest spot in what was otherwise a tough season for the sox….i lived in CT for awhile and i remember a young david ortiz playing 1st base for the new britain rock cats [twins minor league affiliate], along with almost the entire current twins team, and some guys who’ve left the twins in the past couple of years….it give me [and my kids] a thrill to see how well they [espec. ortiz] is doing in the big leagues….we saw these guys up close….i couldn’t be happier for a player….who knows, he may even beat bonds next year…that would be a celebration….

    dc September 22, 2006, 9:14 am
  • No one cares about individual accomplishments over here.

    Derek September 22, 2006, 10:10 am
  • …derek…yes you do…denying it seems a bit phony…team accomplishments are the more noble [pc] goal that’s true, and i’d rather win a ws than a batting title…but, the team’s accomplishments are the sum of the individual’s players accomplishments, aren’t they?….if you break a record or lead the league in something, that’s icing on the cake, or in the case of ortiz, a nice consolation prize…

    dc September 22, 2006, 10:19 am
  • dc…please don’t use ellipses so much….there are other punctuation marks…really…. :)

    yankeemonkey September 22, 2006, 11:03 am
  • …t…o…u…c…h…y…

    dc September 22, 2006, 11:13 am
  • Incidentally, you gotta love Ortiz’s comments after the game:
    “This is something that might change people’s minds and let them know that there are still a lot of good athletes still playing the game and still working hard and preparing themselves to play the game the way it’s supposed to be.
    “A lot of people out there, a lot of players, that have a lot of respect for the game. I know there are some guys that have been caught using illegal things, but people should know that not everyone is like that.
    “Somebody does whatever they do for a reason, but the most important thing is knowing that there are guys out there capable of hitting homers and doing everything in the right way.”
    I hope that puts to rest any of the whispers we’ve heard around this site. He brought up the questions, and he put them to rest. He didn’t need a subpoena to do it, or a barely legal drug found by an AP reporter in his locker.
    David Ortiz is one of the most beloved figures ever to wear his uniform, and he single-handedly saved if not this season for the Red Sox then the memory of this season for Red Sox fans.
    Thank you.

    Paul SF September 22, 2006, 11:40 am
  • amen…i was probably one of the “whisperers”, and i’ll apologize here if i unintentionally riled anyone…not because i truly believed ortiz was doing anything wrong…he’s a class act…but, just to prove a point in one of the debates that we shouldn’t accuse anyone of anything without rock-solid proof…ortiz is and will remain one of my favorite players…

    dc September 22, 2006, 1:53 pm
  • Now I don’t think Ortiz is on anything, but come on. He put it to rest with a public claim? Jason Giambi said the same things.

    Derek September 23, 2006, 1:40 am

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