David Ortiz Retires as One of the Greatest Designated Hitters of All-Time

Bringing home three World Series titles and an amazing run of consistent production has cemented Big Papi forever in Boston.

As the Boston Red Sox slugged their way to one of the best offensive seasons in recent memory with a team wOBA of .346 and a ridiculous 878 runs scored, it was their poor pitching staff which unfortunately ended their season a little too early for Sox fans, as they were swept out of the playoffs by the Cleveland Indians.

Not only did this end the chance at a fourth World Series title over the last 14 years for Boston, but it also meant the end to a career from one of the best hitters and most lovable figures we have seen in recent history.

David Ortiz is calling it quits.

The Swan Song

Taking a season-long farewell similar to Derek Jeter in 2014, Big Papi showed zero signs of slowing down in his age-41 season, racking up arguably his best numbers over the last five years.

Season Plate Appearances Home Runs Runs Runs Batted In wOBA
2012 383 23 65 60 0.425
2013 600 30 84 103 0.400
2014 602 35 59 104 0.369
2015 614 37 73 108 0.379
2016 626 38 79 127 0.419

Ortiz racked up bests in home runs and runs batted in and nearly in wOBA, as he just seemed to get better with age.

But amidst all of the fanfare, it's important to remember that it was a questionably bad move by former Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan that even got him to Boston in the first place.

How'd ya get to Boston?

Ortiz played his first six seasons in Minnesota, and as you can see in the statistics below, they were fairly non-descript:

Season Plate Appearances Home Runs Runs Runs Batted In wOBA
1997 51 1 10 6 0.353
1998 326 9 47 46 0.358
1999 25 0 1 0 0.145
2000 478 10 59 63 0.354
2001 347 18 46 48 0.333
2002 466 20 52 75 0.359

Ortiz recorded his best season in 2002, as he slugged 20 home runs and drove in 75 hitters with a solid .359 wOBA.

But, the Twins weren't exactly sold, and there wasn't much that really sticks out that could foretell what was to come. They non-tendered him, paving the way for the Red Sox to scoop him up for a mere $1.25 million.

What an incredible steal it was, as this platoon bat forced his way into significantly more playing time.

Some Memories Las Forever

Ortiz came out of the gates firing in Boston, putting up four monster consecutive seasons in his new digs.

Season Plate Appearances Home Runs Runs Runs Batted In wOBA
2003 509 31 79 101 0.401
2004 669 41 94 139 0.408
2005 713 47 119 148 0.418
2006 686 54 115 137 0.427
2003-2006 Avg 644 43 102 131 0.414

The numbers are a bit mind-boggling for a non-tendered player who earned a paltry (by today's standards) $20 million over that four-year span. He continued one-upping himself by setting new career-highs in each statistical category, save for a slight dip in runs and runs batted in during the 2006 season, which was still a monster campaign.

Of course, in the minds of many Sox fans, Papi paved his way to never paying for a meal again in Boston during their run to a World Series title in 2004, ending their 86-year drought with an incredible comeback against the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

Who could forgot Ortiz's walk-off home run in Game 4, or his walk-off single in Game 5 en route to a stunning come back in the series?

But perhaps one of the greatest marks of Ortiz's career isn't just this four-year run, but his amazing consistency over his 14 Red Sox seasons.

One of the Greats of this Generation

Ortiz is one of only seven qualified hitters to rack up a wOBA of .400 or greater from 2003 to 2016, and he did it over a whopping 8,398 plate appearances.

Ortiz's company in the category are some of the greatest hitters we have seen over the last 15 seasons, including the likes of Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez, and Miguel Cabrera, and none have enjoyed as much team success as Papi has -- he owns three World Series rings (2004, 2007, and 2013) during his tenure in Boston.

All of this is pretty incredible given that virtually any team could have won the rights to Papi in the 2004 offseason.

Cooperstown Bound?

Designated hitters notoriously have had a hard time getting into the Hall of Fame. While Frank Thomas was able to find his way in, Edgar Martinez still hasn't gotten enough votes to head to upstate New York for his crowning ceremony.

Regardless of whether he does or doesn't make it, Ortiz's success is an incredible story, even more so given that he was let go by the Twins and was signed for a bargain basement price.

If he doesn't make it, Ortiz's 10 All-Star Game appearances, 7 Silver Slugger awards, 5 top-five MVP finishes, and 3 World Series rings should go a long way to easing the pain.