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Thursday, October 31, 2013
King of October Ortiz crowned as MVP

By Joe McDonald


BOSTON -- Former Celtics great Bill Russell will have his statue unveiled Friday.

Someday, David Ortiz will have one here, too.

Ortiz added to his legendary status in this city, and in the baseball world, when he was named MVP of the 109th World Series after the Boston Red Sox dismissed the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.

When he was handed the trophy on stage in the middle of the diamond with the stands still full at the storied ballpark, Ortiz raised it in the air and shouted to the fans, "This is for you."

David Ortiz
David Ortiz celebrates after scoring in the third inning.
The veteran DH and future Hall of Famer posted a .688 batting average (11-for-16) and .760 on-base percentage for the Series. His eight walks in the World Series set a club record, breaking Carlton Fisk's 1975 total of seven.

Ortiz became the third Red Sox player to be named World Series MVP in the past decade, joining Manny Ramirez (2004) and Mike Lowell (2007). He's the third DH to win the award, along with the Blue Jays' Paul Molitor (1993) and the Yankees' Hideki Matsui (2009).

This is Ortiz's third championship with the Red Sox and he's now 20-for-44 (.455) during his World Series career. That mark is the best average among players with at least 50 World Series plate appearances.

At the end of the pitiful 2012 season, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said the organization's priority was to sign Ortiz and the sides agreed on a two-year contract extension. Ortiz probably will finish his career in Boston, which is exactly what he wanted.

What has he meant to the Red Sox?

"I would be doing him a disservice trying to put it into words," Cherington said. "He just keeps writing new chapters. I know great players are great, are more likely to be great in any moment, but it's hard to see him in those moments and not think that there's something different about him. He's locked in. We've seen him locked in before, but to do it on this stage, and do it in so many big moments, I can't add anything more to the legend that's already there, but he keeps writing more chapters on his own."

During the postgame celebration in the Red Sox clubhouse, Ortiz was leading the way. He was in the midst of a champagne dousing when a member of the Red Sox PR staff walked by with the MVP trophy and placed it in a back room for safekeeping.

"He stinks, man. It was a bad series for him and I thought they felt bad for him, so they gave him the MVP," Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester said jokingly. "It's been a special time and it's been a pleasure to be in the same clubhouse as him for the past eight years. I've learned so much from him. Just like John [Lackey], David's one of the best teammates, one of the best baseball players I've ever been around. There's not too many times you get to say you've played with a Hall of Famer and I believe I have. It's pretty special."

Ortiz was escorted out of the celebration and brought into the interview room above the clubhouse to address the media.

He was asked about his personal accomplishments. He was asked about what this World Series victory means for the team, the fans and this city. Each answer he gave was genuine.

"This is a team that has a lot of players with heart," he said. "We probably don't have the talent that we had in '07 and '04, but we have guys that are capable to stay focused and do the little things. And when you win with a ballclub like that, that's special."

This postseason Ortiz's teammates began to call him "Cooperstown," and it's a fitting name for one of the best World Series performers in history. His numbers prove it and he'll be respected in this city forever.

This is his bleeping city, after all.