David Ortiz is one of the most popular players to ever play for the Boston Red Sox. He manned first base and DH for them for 14 seasons as he propelled them to 3 World Series. He took the city from rags to riches as the fan base had doubts they could ever win even though the excitement and interest level in Boston was always high.
Ortiz tells us what is what like for two decades to play baseball and face adversity within the game. He grew up in a bad neighborhood in the Dominican Republic where his parents made he and his sister to play in the backyard to keep them from getting shot. His parents worked long and extra hours to provide for them. Ortiz loved both his parents equally even when they split up.
When David finally made it to the United States(his first plane ride), he was assigned to a minor league team in the Midwest. Players had to stick together to make it work as many got homesick or couldn’t handle the rigors involved in the minors. He met his future wife while playing in the Midwest League for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. They bonded quickly and it didn’t take long before they were together but no married. In fact, they had two kids before the tied the knot.
He moved up the ladder and eventually made it to the majors with the Minnesota Twins. He spent several years languishing with the team as they never made him feel comfortable and he was pick on my his manager Tom Kelly for various reasons. He was eventually released even though he was playing rather well.
At the urging of another Dominican, Pedro Martinez, he signed with the Red Sox and as they say it was all history from there. He talks about how things were so much different and professionally handled by Boston as opposed to the Twins. He then chronicles his time by discussing the next 14 years with discussions of his teammates, coaches, managers, front office personnel and much more. The media was nice to him until the steroid era started and the fingers started pointing directly at him.
One story I will share in this review is how he got the nickname Papi. David Ortiz was really bad about first names. He knew players by their name of the back of the jersey. The problem with that is those were only last names. In conversation with teammates, he couldn’t remember their name so he called everyone Papi. This led to the media and teammates referring to him as the “Big Papi”.
This book is a great read and I recommend it for baseball fans even if you are not a Red Sox fan. It is written as if he was doing the talking the entire book. Pick up for a great read!