On May 8th, David Ortiz passed Carl Yastrzemski to become second on the Red Sox all time home run list behind Ted Williams. In the last game of a three game series against the New York Yankees, Ortiz hit home runs 453 and 454 in a 5-1 victory over the hated rivals in the Bronx. While there’s no doubt that Ortiz is one of the greatest players in Red Sox history, to say that he’s the second best behind Ted Williams isn’t quite accurate. To clarify, it’s widely accepted that Ted Williams is the greatest Red Sox player in history and anyone who disagrees should get a cat scan. But for now, Yaz Beats Ortiz, making him the second best Red Sox player ever.
Let’s look at the numbers. Yaz replaced The Splendid Splinter in left field where he brilliantly learned how to navigate the Green Monster. From there Yaz went on to be an 18-time All Star, won the American League MVP and Triple Crown in 1967 during the Red Sox Impossible Dream season, won three American League batting titles, and compiled an outstanding 7 Gold Glove Awards. Yaz collected 3,419 hits throughout his career too, making him number nine on the all time hit list. Yaz even had five seasons where he stole 10 or more bases, with a career-high of 23 in 1970. While it’s easy to look at numbers and say that one is better over the other, when it comes down to the bare bones of the subject, Yaz beats Ortiz as a much superior baseball player due to his all around abilities, especially since Ortiz isn’t known for his speed and was only a decent first baseman.
It’s No Contest: Yaz Beats Ortiz!
Of course, this isn’t to say that Ortiz isn’t good. Ortiz is outstanding and I wouldn’t argue with anyone who said he’s one of the top five Red Sox players ever. Ortiz helped lead the Red Sox to three World Series titles (four if they keep playing well this season). Ortiz is a clutch hitter who often delivers when we need it the most. Most importantly, Ortiz was a symbol of strength in the wake of the Boston Bombing by declaring that “This is our f—king city!”
Together, Yaz and Ortiz have beaten up the New York Yankees pretty badly in their careers. Ortiz tied Yaz Sunday night when he hit his 52nd home run against the Yankees, tying him with Yastrzemski. Both are only two of just six players in MLB history to hit 50 or more home runs against the Yankees, with Red Sox Hall of Famer Jimmie Fox holding the record with 70.
Regardless of whether you agree or not, it’s easy to say that both players rank in the top five (I’d put Carlton Fisk and Pedro Martinez behind Ortiz). David Ortiz is a symbol to Boston, a beacon of hope and inspiration and always will be. But after you examine the long and rich history of the Boston Red Sox, no matter what you say, I still say Yaz beats Ortiz as number two behind Ted Williams.