On Thursday night, David Ortiz begins his final series in Anaheim, California, against the Angels, the team he began to build his mythos against. Below are some memorable moments from Ortiz’s career against the Angels.
April 27, 2003: The first of many
Ortiz was a 27-year-old first baseman who was released outright by the Minnesota Twins after six lackluster seasons. The Boston Red Sox signed him in the offseason, and on April 27, in the top of the 14th inning at Angel Stadium, he connected on his first home run in a Red Sox uniform. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez could be seen behind the Red Sox dugout celebrating.
Quotable: “It's been kind of tough for me. Sometimes I've been trying to overdo things. But this one time, I was just trying to see the ball and hit it,” Ortiz said. “I didn't try to swing too hard. I was looking for a pitch to drive. It was a low sinker away, but I saw it good. I don't pinch-hit that much, but you have to be ready for any situation.”
Did you know? Ortiz’s six go-ahead home runs at Angel Stadium are tied for third-most by a visiting player since he entered the major leagues in 1997.
Oct. 8, 2004: ALDS Game 3 – The series-clinching home run
The Red Sox entered the game with a 2-0 lead in the American League Division Series and were ahead 6-1 going into the top of the seventh. They gave up five runs in the seventh, as the Angels stormed back to force extra innings. In the bottom of the 10th, the second-year Red Sox designated hitter launched a first-pitch fastball beyond left field, catapulting Boston into an AL Championship Series matchup against the New York Yankees.
Quotable: “I was looking for a pitch I could drive and I got it,” Ortiz said, so drenched in suds he could hardly speak. “He threw me a slider he left a little bit high, and here we are.”
“I was begging,” manager Terry Francona said of watching Ortiz’s drive soar through the night with 35,547 others in the park begging with him. “There was a lot of begging going on.”
Did you know? Ortiz’s walk-off home run against the Angels in Game 3 of the 2003 ALDS is one of nine series-clinching home runs in postseason history.
Sept. 6, 2005: “The Greatest Clutch Hitter in the History of the Boston Red Sox”
Ortiz stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning in a tie game and sent the Boston fans home cheering. He worked the count full before turning on a fastball and ending the game. It was the sixth time in his three seasons in Boston that he ended a game at Fenway with a home run. After the game, owner John Henry and president/CEO Larry Lucchino presented Ortiz with a plaque that read: "The Greatest Clutch Hitter in the History of the Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, #34."
Quotable: "It's incredible how he does things the way he does them," said Tim Wakefield, who gave Boston its second complete game in three days. "He's Mr. Clutch. He proved that last postseason. He did it again tonight for us."
Did you know? Since 1997, Ortiz’s 11 regular-season walk-off home runs are tied with Albert Pujols and Jim Thome for the most in baseball.
July 29, 2006: Just another day at the office
The Red Sox entered the game neck-and-neck with the Yankees for first place in the AL East. It was a back-and-forth affair against the Angels, with Ortiz in the thick of the action. The game went 11 innings, with Ortiz going 4-for-5, including a solo home run and a walk-off, opposite-field single through the shift to keep the Red Sox on top of the AL East.
Quotable: "To have that guy on your team, to be able to take the pressure off your teammates and to be able to carry the team on his back is amazing," Jonathan Papelbon said. "He's the type of guy that enjoys that role. We're going to ride him a lot."
Did you know? Since 1997, Ortiz has 16 games in which he collected four hits that included a home run, tied for the sixth-most such games in that span.
July 26, 2010: Second multi-HR game against the Angels
Two weeks after winning the Home Run Derby at Angel Stadium, Ortiz returned to Anaheim and carried the Red Sox to a victory with two long balls. Ortiz has 11 home runs at Angels Stadium; this was his only game with two. The Red Sox had been playing sub-.500 baseball since the break, but a big performance from Ortiz set the team back on track.
Quotable: "We need him," manager Terry Francona said. "He's a big bat for us. We need him. He hits right smack in the middle of the order. He's a big part of what we do. Tonight he was a real big part."
Did you know? Since 1997, Ortiz has 51 games with more than one home run, the third-most in baseball.