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David Ortiz contributed to a couple of other championship teams earlier in his career, but this was easily his best job as a leader.
The Boston Red Sox faced better pitching during the 2013 playoffs than they did in 2004 and 2007. That included possible future Hall of Famers like Justin Verlander and Adam Wainwright, both of whom still seem to be in the primes of their careers. Max Scherzer also started against them twice coming off a fantastic regular season.
Nonetheless, with his 38th birthday fast approaching, Big Papi batted .353/.500/.706 while starting all 16 of Boston's postseason games. He reached base in 14 of those contests, including multiple times in every World Series matchup.
Although Ortiz's offensive stats were extraordinary, the uselessness of the other Red Sox gives us a better appreciation for what he accomplished. As Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports points out, the slugger's World Series batting average trumped any OPS that his teammates posted against the St. Louis Cardinals. (Read that sentence a few more times so that it sinks in, because that's truly unbelievable.)
Ultimately, the grand slam that saved Game 2 of the ALCS best epitomizes Boston's resiliency. That team—that entire city, really—ought to be grateful for its veteran designated hitter.
Honorable Mention: Carlos Beltran (Cardinals)
Ely is a national MLB Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and a sportscaster for 90.5 WVUM in Miami. He wants to make sweet, social love with all of you on Twitter.