Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr and Dom DiMaggio all have been immortalized with statues outside Fenway Park — fitting recognition for five Boston Red Sox legends.
Alex Rodriguez believes David Ortiz should receive the same honor after his storied major league career concludes this fall.
“No one else can speak for that team like he can,” Rodriguez told Tony Massarotti for an oral history of Ortiz’s career published Monday on BostonMagazine.com. “He is the face of that franchise. I wouldn?t be surprised if they put a statue outside of Fenway and have a road named after him. He deserves it. To win three championships and not just be on the roster, but be the main cog that stirs it up; if you?re a Red Sox fan, there?s going to be a huge vacancy when he leaves — a huge hole.”
Rodriguez had a front-row seat to Ortiz’s rise to stardom, as he was a member of the New York Yankees team that lost four straight to the Red Sox in the 2004 American League Championship Series. Ortiz delivered the game-winning hit in Games 4 and 5 of that series and also homered in Game 7 en route to earning ALCS MVP honors.
Though Ortiz was a relative unknown before he joined the Red Sox in 2003, Rodriguez claims he tried to convince his former team, the Texas Rangers, to take a chance on the Dominican designated hitter. The Rangers apparently were not interested, and Ortiz quickly blossomed into a Boston legend.
“I was in Texas (when the Minnesota Twins released Ortiz in 2002),” Rodriguez told Massarotti. “I had long, long talks with our owner, Tom Hicks, begging him to bring over David Ortiz.”
Two of the best hitters of their era, Ortiz and Rodriguez reconciled earlier this season after a two-year feud sparked by comments Rodriguez’s agent, Joe Tacopina, made in 2014. Tacopina insinuated in an ESPN Radio interview that Ortiz had used steroids, and as a result, the sluggers did not speak for two years.
Ortiz is in the midst of one of the greatest final seasons in the history of Major League Baseball. The 40-year-old entered Monday as the major league leader in doubles, slugging percentage and OPS while also ranking in the top five in several other offensive categories.
Read Boston Magazine’s full David Ortiz oral history >>
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images