Red Auerbach squares off against David Ortiz in the third round of the Boston’s Biggest Sports Legend tournament.
2. Red Auerbach Before the Lakers won everything in June of 2009, Arnold “Red” Auerbach’s nine NBA championships served as the most by one coach in league history. Phil Jackson may have surpassed that mark, but Auerbach is still regarded as one of the very best coaches of all time. The Coach of the Year trophy even is named after him. He was responsible for implementing a team-first, defense-oriented approach and drafted the league’s first African-American player. Auerbach transformed the Celtics from NBA laughingstock to NBA powerhouse, leading Boston to nine championships in 10 years from 1956 to 1966. He moved to the front office and won another seven titles as general manager and president of the Celtics. No other person did as much to turn the franchise into what it is today: a storied title machine that is often remembered as one of the greatest dynasties in the history of professional sports.
3. David Ortiz Forget slow starts, The New York Times and “the list.” Remember 2004 and 2007. Remember what David Ortiz did to help the Boston Red Sox go from perennial losers to one of baseball’s best. From 2003 to 2008, Ortiz and Manny Ramirez served as one of the most dominant, most feared one-two punches in history. Ortiz, in particular, won over the jaded Boston fan base with his jolly demeanor and fiercely clutch bat, registering a walk-off bomb against the Angels in the 2004 ALDS, a walk-off home run in Boston’s legendary Game 4 win over the Yankees in the ALCS, and a walk-off single in Game 5 of the same series. That year, he finished the postseason with a .400 average, five home runs, 19 RBIs and a World Series ring. In 2006, his 54 home runs broke the Red Sox’ single-season record, and he led the AL in home runs and RBIs. Perhaps most notably, in LIPS (Late Inning Pressure Situations), he had more walk-off base hits than most teams. Big Papi changed the Red Sox.