David Ortiz: Strength and courage overrides

Manny Delcarmen has changed his number to 17, which was freed up when Dave Wallace left the team.  As Steve Buckley wrote for the Herald last July:

The right-hander is so enamored with No. 17 that he has the number tattooed on his right biceps.
"Itwas always my father’s number, so when I was a kid it was the first
number I asked for," Delcarmen said. "I wore it all through the minors
until I got to Pawtucket."
Delcarmen explained that when he arrived at Pawtucket the number was already being worn by Dave Berg, a veteran big leaguer.
Delcarmen,
who knows well the pecking order in place, not to mention his respect
for Wallace, has absolutely no plans to ask for No. 17.
"If ever
in my career it’s available, sure, I’d like it," he said. "But that’s
way down the road. For now, I’m very happy with the number I have."

Of another favorite of mine, Buckley wrote:

Craig Hansen’s favorite number, a number he wore in high school and college, is No. 34.
Alas, that number belongs to David Ortiz, a former Minnesota Twin who chose the number out of respect for Kirby Puckett, who has since passed away.  And given the way Ortiz has been playing the last four years, it may turn out that he’ll be the last Red Sox player to ever wear that number.

As boston.com tallies the votes for "most beloved" players (since ’67), they made an exception at DH they made for no other position–they called the category "Most Beloved DH Not Named Ortiz."  No voting was necessary to determine a winner.

Big Papi is the best of all things for Red Sox Nation: a hitter who redefined clutch, a man of fearsome power paired with an affable nature and an easy smile.

Some of my best classic baseball shots have been of Papi,


June 29, 2006.


May 1, 2006.


(I always wondered if he really spit on his hands!)


July 29, 2006.


September 10, 2006.


September 27, 2006.

But so have some of my best character shots.


(Hey, wait a minute…) June 3, 2005.


August 9, 2005.


In Philly, proving he’ll be just fine at first if he doesn’t drop the glove, May 20, 2006.


With Kevin Millar, August 11, 2006.


With Papa Jack, September 10, 2006.

It’s always worth watching Papi when he stands next to a less-imposing player…


September 29, 2006.


June 18, 2006.

And it’s never hard to catch Papi with his arm around someone.


May 2, 2006.


July 31, 2005.

… even me!


Clearly, I didn’t take this one! 2006 fundraiser at Fenway.

There are only a few players for whom words fail me, but Papi is one of them.  I saw four of his walkoffs last year; I even got my mom to one of them.  All of them were joys–perhaps none were surprises.  July 31 in particular–we counted out the batters who would merely have to get on base to bring Papi up.  It’s not fair that he’s been asked to carry the team, to never mis-step, but he always comes through.  It’s a rare privilege to feel this way.  But we love you.

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3 comments

  1. jetsox04@hotmail.com

    How appropriate for you to post about the heart of the Red Sox to get all our hearts beating warmly for Valentines Day. We are so blessed to have Ortiz. And your photos.

  2. redsox8585@earthlink.net

    Kelly, great job as usual, with your great photography! I may have told you this, but my son Rakes, after mama and dada, his third word spoken was Papi! I’ve also got a signed ball in his room on a shelf. Big Papi is most definately his favorite!

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