David Ortiz made his legacy with the Boston Red Sox by hitting clutch home runs and winning World Series titles. But all of that might not have happened if Pedro Martinez didn’t want lobster on a winter night in 2002.
In a recent The Players’ Tribune article, the legendary Red Sox pitcher details the night that brought Ortiz to Boston and changed the course of history.
“So one night, I was out with some friends on the Malecon in Santo Domingo, and we were hungry,” Martinez wrote. “Now, there are hundreds of restaurants we could have gone to. My one compadre wanted steak. Somebody else wanted mangu. It was a debate. But this restaurant called Vesuvio made a lobster stew that was just calling out to me. I swear it was God whispering to me, ‘Lobster, Pedro. Go to the lobster.'”
And, of course, Ortiz was sitting in the back corner of the restaurant when Martinez arrived.
But Big Papi had just received some bad news from his current club. the Minnesota Twins. The Twins had just released the inconsistent first basemen, leaving him in baseball limbo.
While this was bad news for Ortiz, Martinez saw it as an opportunity.
“I pulled out my little flip phone right there and started calling everybody I could think of back in Boston. But nobody picked up, because they were all in the (Major League Baseball) Winter Meetings. Finally I got to the traveling secretary, Jack McCormick, and I said, ‘Hey, can you get a hold of (Larry) Lucchino or Theo (Epstein) or somebody?’
“Jack said, ‘Huh? What’s going on?’
“‘Listen, I’m in the Dominican and I ran into David Ortiz. He just got released by Minnesota. We need to sign him.'”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Ortiz signed with the Red Sox in January 2003 and became the most prolific designated hitter in baseball history. And all because Martinez felt like having lobster.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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