TORONTO -- With his fourth home run in three games here Wednesday night, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz became the 53rd player in major-league history to drive in 1,500 or more runs in his career.
Ortiz lined a knuckleball from Toronto’s R.A. Dickey off the facing of the fourth deck in Rogers Centre for a three-run home run in the first inning. The distance was calculated by ESPN Stats and Info as 425 feet. By their calculations, the ball would have landed 89 feet beyond the right-field fence.
Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia had singled before Ortiz’s home run, which gave him 72 RBIs this season and 1,501 in his career. He began the night ranked seventh in the majors this season in RBIs with 69, eight behind major-league leader Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers.
According to Red Sox researcher Jon Shestakofsky, Ortiz broke the 1,500 RBI threshold in his 2,067th game, making him the 14th fastest player in history to accomplish that feat.
Ortiz is fourth among all active players in RBIs, trailing Alex Rodriguez (1,969), Manny Ramirez (1,831) and Albert Pujols (1,563). Rodriguez is serving a 162-game suspension while Ramirez is a player-coach for Triple-A Iowa in the Cubs’ system. All four leaders were born in the Dominican Republic.
Just ahead of Ortiz on the all-time list is Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle, with 1,509.
Ortiz homered in consecutive innings (fourth and fifth) Monday night, then homered again in the eighth inning Tuesday before connecting off Dickey in the first Wednesday. This was the first time since June 17-20, 2012 that he has homered in three straight games.
Red Sox All-Time Leaders in RBIs
Ortiz now has 37 home runs in Rogers Centre (nee SkyDome), one more than A-Rod, who had held the record for most home runs here by a visiting player until this week. All but two of Ortiz’s home runs here have come as a member of the Red Sox.
Ortiz has 1,263 RBIs since joining the Red Sox in 2003, which ranks fifth on the club’s all-time list.
Ortiz, 38, is on pace to hit 38 home runs this season, which would be his most since hitting a club-record 54 in 2006. Only six players in major league history have hit 38 or more home runs in a season at 38 years or older: Barry Bonds (twice), Darrell Evans, Hank Aaron, Frank Thomas, Rafael Palmeiro and Ted Williams. Aaron, Thomas and Williams are Hall of Famers (Thomas's induction comes Sunday). Bonds and Palmeiro have been discredited by their links to performance-enhancing drugs.