David Ortiz achieved a career milestone Monday afternoon as he passed Dave Kingman for 39th all-time on the home run list. Ortiz’s 443rd home run came in the fifth inning of Boston’s game against the Atlanta Braves off of Atlanta starter Ervin Santana.
In case you have never heard of Kingman, and most people probably haven’t, he was an outfielder and corner infielder in the 70s and 80s. He played for the San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, California Angels, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, and Oakland Athletics, hitting 30+ home runs in his final three seasons. He led the NL in home runs in 1979 (48) and 1982 (37).
The home run was more than a milestone for Ortiz as it tied the game at six a piece and jump-started the comeback by the Red Sox to end their ten-game skid. The home run was also part of a four-RBI day for Big Papi as he had a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning to give Boston the lead.
Ortiz cracked the top-40 all-time home run list earlier this season as he passed the likes of Andre Dawson and Jason Giambi. He also surpassed Adam Dunn. Next up on the home run list are some bigger names: Vladimir Guerrero, Jeff Bagwell, and Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski. Also within reach this season are steroid user Jose Canseco and Dave Winfield.
Home runs are baseball’s ultimate display of power, and Ortiz has displayed that many times over the years. While the DH role is a hard position to get nominated to the Hall of Fame for, David Ortiz has a case to make for himself in future years with the leadership and role he has played in Boston’s World Series championships and dominance over the past decade.