Papi's Biggest Moment Is Also His Worst

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Papi's Biggest Moment Is Also His Worst
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The baseball world was already aware that Manny Ramirez was—at least at one point in his career—using performance-enhancing drugs, thanks to his positive test at the beginning of this season.

The breaking news today came from a New York Times report that announced that fellow longtime Boston Red Sox David Ortiz was, along with Ramirez, on the list of 103 players that had tested positive for a banned substance during the 2003 season.

Surprised?

You shouldn’t be.

First, take into account the mathematical odds. There are 30 major league teams, each with a 25-man roster. That is 750 players. If we throw in even another five players per team that average significant enough time to be on the roster, that would give us roughly 900 players who were in the majors in 2003.

That means that one out of every nine players is on that list—about three per team. Some teams, no doubt, will have significantly more players on that list because of the environment in each clubhouse and the notable players that have already been identified as users: Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, San Fransisco Giants, Houston Astros, etc.

Throw the Boston Red Sox into that distinguished mix.

Second, and this is in no way to be interpreted as racially prejudiced or demeaning, there is clearly a separate PEDs ring in the Dominican Republic. By that I mean that it seems that in the DR, it is much easier for individuals to obtain PEDs of varying nature.

Believe him or not, if anything that Alex Rodriguez said in his press conference was true, it was that he was a young kid, who was able to get drugs, and had no idea what they were, except that it would make him stronger.

We have seen a trend that many of the top-level players who are caught using PEDs have a Dominican connection: Sammy Sosa, Miguel Tejada, Ramirez and now Ortiz, just to name a few.

Third, and perhaps most obviously, was that Ortiz was a castaway from the Minnesota Twins—a player deemed too big, too slow and too one-dimensional to play in the majors. That expendable piece of the Twins organization went on to hit 41, 47, 54 (franchise record) home runs for the Red Sox during the 2004-06 seasons.

At the time, we did see a large, very strong left-handed hitter that reminded us of Jim Thome every time the ball jumped off of Ortiz’s bat. He was 28 in 2004, the first year he hit 40+ home runs in a season, which is right in the middle of the prime of a hitter’s career.

While we thoroughly enjoyed Ortiz’s best years in Boston, and the two World Series titles that he and Ramirez helped the Sox win, this is by far the biggest moment of Ortiz’s career in Boston.

Bigger than walk-offs against the Angels and Yankees in the 2004 playoff series; bigger than the Red Sox single season home run record; bigger than solidifying himself as one of the best clutch hitters and best designated hitters in the history of the game.

David Ortiz replaced Nomar Garciaparra as everyone’s favorite Red Sox player. He was always outgoing, gregarious and accepting of the media. Even through his recent struggles, Ortiz forced a smile on his face. No one outside of New York (and perhaps a few other teams still looking for a ball that he launched over their fences) had a bad thing to say about him.

Until now.

Load More Stories

Follow Boston Red Sox from B/R on Facebook

Follow Boston Red Sox from B/R on Facebook and get the latest updates straight to your newsfeed!

Out of Bounds

Boston Red Sox

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.